Hey, What’s Going On with Sick Days Initiative?
There are more questions than validated petitions this week surrounding the Earned Sick Days initiative in Orange County. On Monday, just one day before Florida’s primaries, the coalition leading the effort, Citizens for a Greater Orange County, began celebrating with online posts that they had turned in enough petitions to make the ballot in November.
However, did they turn them in with enough time? That’s still in doubt. As of Thursday at 5pm, the Supervisor of Elections office still showed the initiative short by about 880 votes in County Commission District 1, with more petitions still left to validate. The Supervisor of Elections will continue the verification process Friday, but their office is still focused primarily on Tuesday’s election and certifying the results meaning the petition verification slowed to a trickle this week. Bad timing to turn in petitions.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs issued her statement earlier this week signaling that there may be need for a Charter amendment fix, but that still does not guarantee the future of the current Sick Days measure. County Attorney Jeff Newton also said earlier that a legal ad must run by the end of this week to give the public notice that the Sick Days initiative would be heard at the Aug. 28 Commission meeting. It is questionable if that notice can be placed in time as well, adding more complications to this already confusing process.
Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles had hoped to send November’s ballot to the printer on August 21, but that will not likely happen. As the coalition continues to celebrate, at least online, working families, voters and the community will have to continue to wait for word on the official fate of Earned Sick Time in Orange County.