A judge issued an order denying the emergency motion for a temporary injunction to force Orange County to include the sick pay initiative on November's ballot, county officials said Tuesday night.
It appears the county will take the 20 days it was allotted to respond to the three-judge panel's Monday ruling that stated the Orange County sick-pay referendum should be on the November ballot.
"We will proceed as proscribed by the court providing our response within twenty days. Although this means the paid sick leave initiative will not appear on the November ballot, we will move forward with a transparent process to ensure voters have a clear and unambiguous ballot language to consider in a future election," said Orange County attorney Jeffrey Newton, in a statement to Local 6.
Supporters the referendum re-filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Orange County government in order to get the referendum on the ballot. In their ruling Monday, judges said the commissioners could respond to the lawsuit, but the language on the ballot for the referendum had to be finalized by Tuesday.
However, the county attorney says the county receives the 20-day time period effective from the date of the ruling, meaning the referendum won't make it on the ballot in time for the November election.
Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said he must have the ballots prepared by Tuesday because of a federal law that states ballots must be mailed to the military by the 45th day prior to the election. He has said he will hold off printing the ballots as late as possible on Tuesday night to see if the referendum will be added.
As a response, supporters of the sick-pay referendum filed an emergency injunction for the court to intervene on Tuesday afternoon. The court intervened and will hold a hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Last week, the Orange County Commissioners decided to delay putting the sick pay referendum on the November ballot because they wanted more time to study the wording of it.
The political committee that gathered more than 50,000 signatures for the sick-pay measure said they felt the commission didn't have the legal authority to delay the referendum to a future election, so they sued Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.
The judge panel ruled that Jacobs was the wrong person to sue and gave the group a chance to re-file their lawsuit, which they did Monday morning.
Supporters of the sick-pay say it's wrong for employees to be punished financially if they're too ill to come into work. Supporters laid flowers in front of the courthouse on Tuesday to symbolize a “funeral for democracy.”
Opponents of the measure say it's not the county government's place to mandate employee benefits and that move would put Orange County businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
County officials did say on Tuesday that once the language of the sick-pay referendum is clarified, it will appear on a ballot to be decided by voters, just not on the November ballot.
"If I can travel to Las Vegas to take a friend to a dentist appointment, and take three days off work, and my employer can't ask me to prove what I was doing, that's way beyond sick time," Jacobs said. "This ordinance is written that loosely."
Watch Local 6 for more on this story.