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Paid sick leave law spreads

June 25, 2014

by Betsy Earls
Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

On, June 18, the Eugene City Council voted to draft an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to workers. The ordinance is expected to be ready for a hearing July 21, and a vote July 28. The council also voted not to send the ordinance to voters to decide in November.

Regardless of attempts to hustle the ordinance along, a group of business interests is considering ways to mitigate the impact of the council’s action. The Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI) is an organization that provides social media, research and campaign support to candidates, and issues campaigns that promote economic growth. HCI’s Eugene Chapter recently convened a roundtable discussion to create a strategy to limit the city council’s ability to promulgate ordinances and regulations that inhibit economic growth.

The group reviewed options to address the ordinance, including a lawsuit, collecting signatures to refer it to the November 2014 ballot, amending the city charter to prevent this and future councils from passing such ordinances, or attempting a fix (possibly a statewide preemption) in the 2015 Legislature.

General agreement was reached to explore the viability of an effort to amend the city charter, with public opinion research beginning this month (June). If the research indicates a strong likelihood of success and identifies strong campaign messages, HCI will gather signatures this summer to qualify a charter amendment for November’s ballot.

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