Several states’ voters will get to decide state minimum wage

Whether or not to increase the minimum wage will be a question placed before voters in five states in the upcoming November 4, 2014, General Election.

Alaska: Ballot Initiative 3 (13 MINW). This ballot initiative proposes to adjust the state minimum wage to $8.75 per hour January 1, 2015; $9.75 per hour effective January 1, 2016; and thereafter adjusted annually by inflation, with the provision that if the minimum wage determination is less than $1 over the federal minimum wage, the Alaska minimum wage is to be set at $1 over the federal minimum wage. Tips or gratuities would not count toward the minimum wage.

Alaska Statute 15.45.195 requires the lieutenant governor to hold two or more public hearings in each judicial district concerning ballot initiatives at least 30 days before the November 4, 2014, election. Hearings were recently held in Nome, Barrow, Juneau, Ketchikan, Anchorage, Wasilla, Bethel and Fairbanks. (Source: Ballot language, http://www.elections.alaska.gov/doc/bml/BM3-13MINW-ballot-language.pdf; Hearing information, http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=173992; State of Alaska, Division of Elections, http://www.elections.alaska.gov/ei_general_bm.php.)

Arkansas: Issue Number 5. If approved by voters, the measure will increase the minimum wage in Arkansas from $6.25 to $7.50 per hour on January 1, 2015; to $8.00 per hour on January 1, 2016; and to $8.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announced on September 3, 2014, that the measure, “An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage,” had met signature requirements of Article 5, Section 1, of the Arkansas Constitution, to place the question on the ballots.

Note that on September 22, 2014, a lawsuit was filed in the Arkansas Supreme Court to block the ballot measure, claiming the state used the wrong deadline for accepting petitions and challenging the signatures submitted. While the question will remain on the ballots, the results may be challenged. (Source: Arkansas Secretary of State Press Releases, September 3, 2014, http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/news/Pages/newsDetails.aspx?show=143; and September 9, 2014, http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/news/Pages/newsDetails.aspx?show=144.)

Illinois: H.B. 3814. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on June 22 signed legislation that will leave the decision of raising the state minimum wage to voters.

House bill 3814 directs the State Board of Elections to place the following advisory question on the November 4, 2014, General Election ballot: “Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?”

Currently the state minimum wage is set at $8.25 per hour. (Source: Illinois Government News Network, Governor’s Office Press Release, June 22, 2014; Public Act 98-657 (H.B. 3814), http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=098-0657; Illinois State Board of Elections, http://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionInformation/OfficesUpForElection.aspx?ID=43.)

Nebraska: Measure 425. Measure 425 asks voters if the minimum wage rate for employees in Nebraska should increase from $7.25 per hour to $8.00 per hour on January 1, 2015, and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016.

Secretary of State John Gale announced on August 15, 2014, that enough signatures were submitted to add Initiative Measure 425 to the ballot.

State statute requires public hearings in each of Nebraska’s three congressional districts pertaining to a petition initiative to be decided by voters in the general election. According to Secretary of State Gale, “the purpose of these hearings is to allow those in favor and those opposed to give public testimony, giving voters an opportunity to learn more about Initiative Measure 425 which proposes to raise the minimum wage.” Hearings are scheduled for October 8 (Grand Island), October 15 (Omaha) and October 21 (Lincoln). (Source: State of Nebraska, Office of Secretary of State John A. Gale, Press Releases, August 15, 2014, http://www.sos.ne.gov/admin/press_releases/pdf-2014/2014-08-15-minimum-wage-qualifies-NR.pdf and September 18, 2014, http://www.sos.ne.gov/admin/press_releases/pdf-2014/2014-09-18-Min-Wage-Hearings-NR.pdf; Initiative Measure 425, http://www.sos.ne.gov/elec/2014/pdf/Initiative-Measure-425.pdf; Nebraska Secretary of State, 2014 Elections, http://www.sos.ne.gov/elec/2014/elections.html.)

South Dakota: Initiated Measure 18 – Minimum Wage. If passed by voters, the initiated measure would amend state law to raise South Dakota’s minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour, effective January 1, 2015, and, after that, to annually adjust the minimum wage by any increase in the cost of living. In addition, the measure proposes to increase the hourly minimum wage for tipped workers to be half the state minimum hourly wage for non-tipped workers. The measure provides for limited exemptions for those employed by seasonal amusement or recreational establishments, organized camps, or religious or nonprofit educational conference centers. (Source: South Dakota Secretary of State, 2014 Ballot Questions, https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/upcoming-elections/2014-ballot-questions.aspx; Petition sample, https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/MinimumWageInitiativePetitionSample.pdf).

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