Counties Fight Oregon’s|Paid Sick Leave Law

     SALEM, Ore. (CN) — Nine rural Oregon counties have sued Gov. Kate Brown, challenging a new paid sick-leave law they call unconstitutional because it requires them to pay more for existing programs without reimbursement from the state.
     Linn, Douglas, Jefferson, Malheur, Morrow, Polk, Sherman, Wallowa and Yamhill counties sued the state on Friday in Linn County Circuit Court.
     Oregon’s paid sick leave law of June 2015 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to provide at least five paid sick days per year. The law took effect Jan. 1.
     The nine counties, which together provide services to 483,054 Oregonians, say they already revenue hamstrung by dwindling timber revenue and are struggling to provide basic services to their citizens. They say a 1996 amendment to the Oregon Constitution requires the state to reimburse them for money they must spend on workers’ paid sick leave.
     Article IX, Section 15 requires the state to reimburse local governments for the cost of enforcing new laws passed without a supermajority.
     The lawsuit could set the stage for a battle over Oregon’s new minimum wage law, set to take effect on July 1. It introduces tiered increases to the minimum wage that by 2022 would hit $14.75 in the Portland area, $13.50 in medium-size counties and $12.50 in rural counties.
     The counties’ attorney declined to comment.
     The governor’s office said it does not comment on pending litigation.

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