Sick Leave Laws: Logrolling Challenge Defeated in Arizona & Albuquerque

Court Decision on Sick Leave Lawsuits in Arizona and Albuquerque
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Logrolling is Considered Voter Fraud.

Logrolling, a practice of combining separate laws into one bill so that unfavorable laws can get passed, is the subject of two legal contentions. In both the State of Arizona and the City of Albuquerque, business groups and the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry have challenged ballot bills due to logrolling.

In both cases, the challenging parties contended that the ballot law was illegal because according to the State Laws of both Arizona and New Mexico, logrolling is considered voter fraud.

The reason is because logrolling takes a highly favorable law and pairs it with a less favorable law that, in theory, wouldn’t pass on its own merits.

Arizona’s Logrolling Challenge Receives a Decision in Court

Arizona’s Sick Leave Law, prop 206,  has two challenges. First, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the bill’s main opponent, claimed that the measure violated state law by logrolling. Prop 206 included both a law to raise minimum wage and a law that implemented mandatory sick leave across the state. The Chamber’s suit alleged that this violates the single-subject rule.

However, Arizona’s State Supreme Court ruled otherwise on August 2, 2017. They found that single subject rule only applies to legislative acts and not to voter initiatives. This means that voter backed initiatives can include a myriad of issues in the same bill.

Secondly, the suit claimed that it also violated the Revenue Source Rule, part of state law by requiring the state to spend more money without identifying a revenue source.

The Revenue Source Rule was approved by voters in 2004 and requires measures to provide a source of funding if it spells out new or increased spending.

As the minimum wage is going up, providers for nursing home and in-home care must start paying workers higher wages, but since their contracts were negotiated under wages of $8.05 an hour, these providers stated that the added expenses would cause them to go out of business. In response the State of Arizona increased their reimbursement, which is a state expenditure.  

Even so, the court ruled that nothing in the new law inherently required the state to spend more money even if lawmakers contend new spending is necessary. The justices stated that although there may be implied financial implications, unless the proposal mandates expenditures, it does not need to provide a revenue source.

That means that the new sick leave law will stay intact. As the law took effect on January 1, business owners should already be providing paid sick leave to Arizona employees.

Albuquerque Sick Leave Initiative has two wins in court

A new bill that is set to go out on the Albuquerque ballot set to require paid sick leave for employees was challenged in court.

The challenge for the Albuquerque initiative contends that the bill rolls 14 separate issues into 1 bill. According to New Mexico law, logrolling is illegal. Additionally, the suit contended that home rule meant that municipalities could not implement new employment laws. This very argument has kept many cities from implementing desired sick leave ordinances.

However, a judge ruled on August 11, 2017 that logrolling does not include municipal ordinances. The judge also ruled in an 11 page decision, that home rule state does not prohibit municipalities from allowing voter-initiated legislation.

The contending parties include The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, The New Mexico Restaurant Association, NAIOP,  and Kaufman Fire Protection Services. Pat Rogers, the attorney who filed the lawsuit said that they will be seeking an emergency review by the Supreme Court.  

The election will be held October 3rd and as a result absentee ballots must be mailed out by Friday.

In another, related move, the judge also upheld the Albuquerque minimum wage saying that if business owners objected, they should have contested it within 30 days of the election.

In yet another court win, Judge Alan Malott reaffirmed that the city cannot print the full text of the initiative in 7 point font, but instead must provide written samples of the initiative in 12 point font at the polling places and must provide a specific number of magnifying glasses so voters can read their ballots.

In addition Judge Malott ruled that the city must remove an advisory question from the ballot. He ruled that it carries “semantically loaded terms” and inappropriately attempts to to inject political advocacy into the bill. Absentee ballots for overseas voters have to be mailed by August 18.

Let WorkforceHub Help

As a result of these rulings, Arizona employers must still provide increased minimum wage and paid sick leave to their employees while Albuquerque employers face the potential of a new sick leave law that would take effect January 1. So far, only Denver voters have voted no to a proposed sick leave ordinance.

Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Medical Leave Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. WorkforceHub provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.

Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according to the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.

Resources

Healthy Workforce Ordinance

Arizona Supreme Court Ruling

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