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Milwaukee judge finds sick leave initiative unconstitutional

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June 12, 2009

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin: Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper today ruled that Milwaukee's 2008 paid sick leave initiative is unconstitutional.

After hearing arguments last month by those opposed to to the measure, Cooper issued a 38-page decision Friday, stating "this is a case where a proposed ordinance's reach exceeds its grasp."

The measure, approved through a rare procedure known as "direct legislation," mandated that Milwaukee employers give employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, or nine days per year. The day after the initiative was approved by voters, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) filed a notice of claim to Milwaukee, informing the city it planned to take legal action against the measure. It contended "the ordinance exceeds the legislative authority conferred to the city by the state."

Supporters of the measure said they were weighing options.[1]

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