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Judge: No BernCo Ballots Until Sick Leave Question Is Resolved

William Brawley via Compfight CC

A judge decided Friday afternoon that Bernalillo County’s ballots for the November election can’t be printed until the issue of paid sick leave is sorted out. Advocates filed a lawsuit after the initiative failed at a Bernalillo County Commission meeting. 

The judge scheduled a hearing for Monday afternoon, because ballots are due to the Secretary of State the next day. And his order said things are looking pretty good for folks who want voters to have a chance to weigh in on paid sick leave, according to Albuquerque Journal.

Lawyer Tim Davis of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty helped draft the measure, which is too long to fit on the ballot. He said a summary is allowed and should be sufficient, despite critics suggesting voters wouldn’t have all the facts. "Of course we’re not trying to trick the voters," he said. "The summary is fair, unbiased and absolutely appropriate for the ballot."

The full text is widely available online, Davis said, and was presented to thousands of people who signed a petition to put the issue on the ballot.

If it goes before voters and passes, all businesses in Albuquerque would be required to allow their workers to earn paid sick leave. "The voters have a right under their city charter to vote on this measure," he said. "And so we’re suing to make sure the voters of Albuquerque get to exercise that right."

Opponents argue that the law would be detrimental to small businesses and expensive to implement.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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