Taking Names: State Wage Ballot Measure Deadlines Approaching


Vote11

The clock is ticking for state and state-equivalent wage measures to meet the required signature and certification deadlines to appear on 2018 ballots. Where the measures stand runs the gamut.

On the Ballot: District of Columbia

A measure that is to appear on the District of Columbia’s primary election ballot June 19 would raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2020 and the tipped-worker hourly minimum wage directly received from their employer to be the same as the amount received by other employees by 2026.

Initiative Measure No. 77, the District of Columbia Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2017, also would require annual inflation-related increases to the minimum wage starting in 2021. The measure does not apply to District of Columbia government employees and contractors. The measure was certified March 7 by the D.C. Board of Elections. Early voting starts June 4.

Even if Initiative Measure No. 77 does not pass, the tipped hourly minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $3.89 in July, and to $4.45 in 2019 and $5 in 2020.

Closing In on Certification: Massachusetts, Missouri

Chances are good that Massachusetts’s November ballot would include a measure to incrementally raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 by Jan. 1, 2022, from $11 in 2018, followed by annual inflation-related adjustments, and to raise the tipped-worker hourly minimum wage to $9 on Jan. 1, 2022, from $3.75 in 2018.

On Dec. 21, 2017, the secretary of state certified the measure, Initiative Petition for a Law Raising the Minimum Wage (IP-17-17), which was submitted with 139,055 signatures, more than double the minimum number of signatures required.

As part of the initiative process, the measure became available in January for the legislature to consider during its legislative session. If the legislature fails to enact the measure and an additional 10,972 signatures can be gathered by July 4, then the measure may appear on the November ballot.

A separate measure (IP17-18) also has been certified by the secretary of state that would provide 16 weeks of paid leave to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, a new child, or to meet family needs related to a family member’s active duty military service, and up to 26 weeks of paid leave to recover from an illness or injury or that of a service member.

More than 120,000 signatures were submitted May 2 to the Missouri secretary of state in support of a ballot measure (2018-204) to raise the state’s hourly minimum wage to $12 by 2023 from $7.85 in 2018.

By Aug. 14, the secretary of state is to certify whether the measure has sufficient valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. More than 100,000 signatures must be valid for the measure to qualify.

Counting Continues: Michigan, North Dakota, Washington

In Michigan, signatures are being gathered to put on the Nov. 6 ballot a minimum-wage measure that would incrementally increase the state’s hourly minimum wage to $12 in 2022, from $9.25 in 2018,  and adjusting for inflation each subsequent year.

For the measure to be certified, 252,523 valid signatures must be gathered by May 30. The Michigan legislature then has 40 days to adopt the proposal. If the legislature fails to do so, the measure is placed on the November election ballot.

A separate measure also is proposed to provide workers with earned sick time for personal and family needs as well as for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and school meetings.

In North Dakota, efforts are underway to gather by July 9 the 13,452 valid signatures that are needed to put on the Nov. 6, 2018, ballot a measure that would raise the hourly minimum wage in annual increments to $15 on Jan. 1, 2021, from $7.25 in 2018, to be followed by annual inflation-related adjustments. The petition was approved by the secretary of state on March 14 to be circulated.

In Washington, several proposed initiatives are being circulated to gather by July 6 the 259,622 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot measures that would lower the state’s current hourly minimum wage or adjust future scheduled minimum wage.

One measure would lower the hourly minimum wage to $7 from the current $11.50. Another measure would change the scheduled minimum wage increases from $12 in 2019 and $13.50 in 2020, to increase the minimum wage to $12.50 in 2020, $12.90 in 2021, $13.90 in 2023, $15 in 2025, to be followed by annual inflation-related adjustments.

Barely Out of the Gate: Arkansas

Two measures that propose to raise Arkansas’s minimum wage may not be circulated to gather the necessary signatures for them to qualify for the ballot, according to opinions issued May 4 and April 26 by the state’s attorney general, who must certify their popular name and ballot title. The measures may be amended and resubmitted to the attorney general by their sponsor.

Of a proposed measure that would raise the state’s hourly minimum wage to $12 by Jan. 1, 2022,  from $8.50, and a proposed measure that would raise the hourly minimum wage to $11 by 2021, the attorney general said that the text contained ambiguities and the title omitted important information, the opinions said (2018-43, 2018-48). The measures may be amended and resubmitted to the attorney general by their sponsor.

To appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, the measures have to be certified by the attorney general, published by June 6 in a newspaper with statewide circulation, and 67,887 signatures must be submitted to the secretary of state by July 6.

By Christine Pulfrey

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