Mayor must explain delay of sick time measure by Sunday

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

A judge has given Mayor Teresa Jacobs until Sunday afternoon to explain why Orange County Commissioners voted to delay a sick time measure, ultimately blocking it from the November 6 ballot.

Mayor Jacobs has until 3:30 Sunday afternoon to respond to the emergency court order. A judge is requiring her to explain why the sick time measure shouldn't go before voters in November.

The group Citizens for Greater Orange County filed a lawsuit against Jacobs and the county after commissioners voted to delay putting the issue on the ballot on Tuesday. Supporters of the initiative said commissioners broke the law by delaying the issue.

"We're confident that Mayor Jacobs has no excuse for breaking the law," said Stephanie Porta with Organize Now, a group that's been pushing the measure.

Commissioners said they needed more time to draft clearer wording to describe the sick time ordinance.

"They've had months to do that. It's pretty disingenuous for them to say that they didn't have enough time," Porta said.

Organize Now and other groups collected 50,000 signatures to put the measure on the November 6 ballot. Delaying the initiative means it wouldn't go before the voters until the 2014 elections.

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 passed, 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.

A spokesman told WFTV that Mayor Jacobs and the county plan to comply with the 3:30 p.m. Sunday deadline.

Stay with WFTV and WFTV.com for the latest on this story.