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Despite strong and growing public support for an earned sick days standard in Orange County, Florida, attacks on the proposed measure continue. And tomorrow, it could be the County Commission itself that undermines the will of voters and democracy.
More than 43,000 voters in Orange County pledged their support for putting an earned sick days proposal on the November ballot and, just last month, the measure was certified. Now, in a last-ditch effort to thwart the proposal, Mayor Teresa Jacobs and commissioners are pushing through a counter initiative that could nullify the measure even if voters approve it. It’s an ill-conceived effort that could have damaging effects.
Attempting to undermine the will of Orange County voters is inexcusable. But what makes the countermeasure especially dangerous is the long-lasting harm it could do to workers in the county. If passed, the measure would prevent any county ordinances that would impact employer-employee relations. And it’s being hastily rammed through — without the normal review that would enable commissioners to consider its full repercussions.
Scott Maxwell from the Orlando Sentinel characterized what is at stake perfectly in a blog post this weekend. If the commission proceeds, he writes, “they will have shown blatant disregard for the county’s own set of checks and balances, plowing ahead before even commissioners themselves understood the ramifications of their actions. And they will have sent an unfortunate message that, when it comes to citizens vs. government in Orange County, it’s not a level playing field.”
Throughout the county, advocates and workers are calling on commissioners to fully consider the impact of the countermeasure and stop it before it’s too late.
Late yesterday, it became disappointingly clear that voters in Orange County will not see a proposal for earned sick time on their ballots in November.