Signature Moments: Wage Initiatives Coming to November Ballots



With the Republican and Democratic conventions taking place over the next two weeks to name the candidates for the Nov.  8 general election, an update is in order on the status of the minimum-wage initiatives that also may appear on the ballots.

In Arizona, signatures were submitted to qualify the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act minimum wage and paid time off Initiative for the ballot as an initiated state statute. The initiative would raise the state’s hourly minimum wage to $10 in 2017 and then incrementally to $12 by 2020. It also would guarantee 40 hours of annual paid sick time to employees of large companies and 24 hours to employees of small companies.

To qualify for the ballot, 150,642 signatures were required by July 7. As of July 7, 2016, 271,883 signatures were submitted to the Arizona secretary of state’s office. 

Signatures still are being gathered in Colorado for the $12 Minimum Wage Amendment (Proposed Initiative 102), a constitutional amendment that would raise the state’s hourly minimum wage to $9.30 and provide for annual 90 cent increases on January 1 until the hourly minimum wage reaches $12 in 2020. Thereafter, the hourly minimum wage would be annually adjusted for inflation.

To qualify for the ballot, 98, 492 signatures must be collected and submitted to the secretary of state’s office by Aug. 8.

Maine’s Minimum Wage Increase Initiative, also known as An Act to Raise the Minimum Wage or Question 4, is to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as an indirect initiated state statute. The initiative would raise the state’s hourly minimum wage to $9 in 2017, $10 in 2018, $11 in 2019 and $12 in 2020 and thereafter would annually adjust the minimum wage for inflation. The state’s current hourly minimum wage is $7.50. The initiative also would raise the cash wage for tipped workers from half the minimum wage to $5 in 2017 with annual one dollar increases until it reaches the adjusted minimum wage.

To qualify for the ballot, 61,123 signatures were needed by Feb. 1, 2016. On Feb. 16, 2016, the secretary of state said that 86,438 signatures were collected, of which 75,275 were valid.

Finally, the South Dakota Youth Minimum Wage Referendum, known as Referred Law 20, is to appear on the ballot as a veto referendum.

In 2014, South Dakota voters approved a measure that raised the state’s hourly minimum wage to $8.50 from $7.25. The ballot measure on the 2016 ballot would exempt workers younger than 18 from that hourly minimum wage increase.

Voting in favor of the referendum would uphold S.B. 177, a law passed in 2015, that decreases the hourly minimum wage for workers younger than 18 to $7.50 from $8.50.

To qualify for the ballot, at least 13,870 valid signatures were to be submitted by June 29, 2015.  On June 30, the initiative was certified with 17,077 valid signatures. The measure is certified Referred Law 20 Petition–SB 177.


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