Both sides of Milwaukee's sick leave ordinance say they're confident they will prevail now that the lawsuit over the ordinance is heading to a state appeals court.
The state Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 today on whether to uphold a circuit court ruling overturning the ordinance and sent the case to the appeals court for review.
In June 2009, a Milwaukee County judge struck down the ordinance, which was approved by 70 percent of voters. He found the ballot question didn't contain enough information explaining the ordinance, including details such as how much sick leave employers would be required to provide and when the leave could be used. The appeals court asked the justices to take the case directly, saying it was a matter of first impression.
Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser and Pat Roggensack voted to uphold the lower court ruling tossing the ordinance, while Justices Shirley Abrahamson, Ann Walsh Bradley and Pat Crooks voted to overturn the decision. Justice Annette Ziegler did not participate in the case.
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) president Tim Sheehy said he was pleased the injunction blocking implementation of the ordinance remains in place.
"While we would have preferred a decision from the Supreme Court, we remain confident in our position that this mandate is in violation of both federal and Wisconsin statutes and the Wisconsin Constitution," he said. "We look forward to making that case persuasively to the Court of Appeals, keeping the injunction in place, and having the threat of this costly burden on Milwaukee employers lifted once and for all.”
The Wisconsin director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women said the group remained confident in its case as it heads back to the appeals court.
"Seventy percent of local voters approved one of the nation’s first paid sick leave ordinances, and now cities and states around the country are pursuing similar policies," Amy Stear said in a statement from the group that led the charge for the 2008 ballot initiative. "We’re confident in our legal case and look forward to the long overdue implementation of the ordinance."