New Mexico Supreme Court to Hear Healthy Workforce Ordinance Dispute 

The New Mexico Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of the Albuquerque Healthy Workforce Ordinance. The Court will hear an appeal from District Court Judge C. Shannon Bacon’s August 11 decision dismissing all of the constitutional challenges to the HWO brought by a cadre of business interests.   My post about that decision is here.

 The plaintiff-business interests had claimed that the HWO violated the state constitution because it violated the “single subject” rule, i.e., was impermissible logrolling; exceeded a home rule municipality’s authority and the territorial reach of the City; and because ordinances may not be enacted by voter initiative.

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On August 14, the business interests filed with the New Mexico Supreme Court an “Emergency Verified Petition” seeking a review of Judge Bacon’s decision.  (Case No S-1-SC-36609).

On August 24, the Intervenors, representing employees without earned sick leave and HWO proponents, filed an opposition to the Petition, arguing that Judge Bacon’s ruling was correct.  In its opposition, Intervenors note that while the HWO is currently scheduled to be on the ballot at the next regular municipal election, which is on October 3, 2017, absentee voting in that election, and on the HWO, has already begun because, on August 19, the City “emailed the ballot to overseas voters pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.”

While there is no timetable within which the New Mexico Supreme Court must issue a decision in the case, given the impending vote, I suspect the case will move swiftly at the Court.