A three-judge panel Friday ordered Orange County to put a sick-time referendum on the next ballot, ruling that the commission’s decision to keep it from voters on the Nov. 6 ballot violated the “plain meaning of its charter.”
The next scheduled countywide election is in August 2014. The initiative, which was signed by more than 50,000 residents, would require many businesses to offer paid sick leave to their employees.
“The charter plainly requires Orange County either to adopt the voter initiative or to call a referendum on the petition’s adoption and place the petition on the ballot,” the panel ruled. It ordered commissioners to adopt a resolution within 30 days to put the matter to voters in the next election.
County spokesman Steve Triggs said attorneys were still reviewing the ruling, but it “was not as black and white as it appears.”
He said the lawyers plan to advise Mayor Teresa Jacobs and commissioners on legal options early next week.