Supporters refile after judges dismiss Orange County sick time lawsuit



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Supporters of a controversial paid sick time ballot measure have refiled a lawsuit that would force commissioners to put the measure on the November ballot.

A panel of judges dismissed the Orange County earned sick time petition Sunday night but had given supporters until Monday morning to refile their lawsuit. 

In their ruling, the judges explained that the lawsuit was dismissed because the petitioner, Citizens for a Greater Orange County, sued the wrong party.

The suit now targets Orange County instead of Mayor Teresa Jacobs. 

The fate of the controversial issue will be in the hands of a three-judge panel.

Their decision will determine if voters will get to decide on Nov. 6 whether the majority of employers in Orange County should be forced to offer paid sick time to employees.

Proponents collected more than 50,000 signatures to have the issue put on the ballot.

But opponents on the county commission delayed sending the question to be printed to elections officials over concerns about what they said was misleading language that voters would see on ballots.

WFTV learned that the delay would likely push back the referendum to the next election in 2014, and that prompted the lawsuit.

The sick time measure would require Orange County businesses with more than 15 employees to give sick pay to their workers.

"Forcing people to do that is going to hurt the small businesses," said Orlando resident Scott Murphy.

If the measure passes, full and part-time employees would earn one hour of sick time for every 37 hours worked, with a maximum of 56 hours per year.

There is another deadline looming.   Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said he needs the ballot language by Tuesday in order to send ballots to military and overseas voters in time to comply with state and federal laws.