- Court: Oregon Supreme Court
- Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
- Date Filed: 04-23-2020
- Case #: S066856
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Balmer, J. for the Court; En Banc.
- Full Text Opinion
Plaintiffs, nine Oregon counties, sought declaratory relief on the basis that Article XI, section 15, required the state to reimburse them for money spent on a program for paid sick leave, and compliance should not be required. Plaintiffs appealed the Court of Appeals' reversal of summary judgment. Plaintiffs contend that the law is a policy designed to address economic disparities, and should be treated like a “program.” Defendants argued that the law does not fall under the constitutional provision, as it does not meet the definition of the word “program.” Under Article XI, section 15(2)(c), of the Oregon Constitution, a “program” is “specific ‘services’ that a ‘local government’ is to ‘perform’ for ‘persons, government agencies or the public generally.’” The Court found that “paid sick leave is a statutory policy choice” made by the legislature. The law serves as a regulatory policy for employee benefits as opposed to a service local government must provide. The purpose of Article XL, section 15, was to address worry about “unfunded mandates.” Thus, the Court held that paid sick leave does not fall under “unfunded mandates” nor does it meet the definition of a “program,” and Plaintiffs must comply. Court of Appeals' decision is Affirmed; decision of the circuit court is reversed and remanded back to the circuit court for further proceedings.