Saturday, August 20, 2016

Judge nixes minimum wage challenge, restaurants vow to support poverty

Well, not exactly, but it is hard to see it any other way when the fight waged by the Arizona Restaurant Association comes down to the definition of "day."

Howard Fischer at Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Judge tosses out challenge against minimum wage initiative. (The article was reprinted in this morning's Daily Star.)

Foes of an initiative to hike the minimum wage to $12 an hour have no legal right to challenge whether the signatures were gathered by people who were unqualified, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joshua Rogers ruled Friday.

In his decision, Rogers acknowledged various claims by the Arizona Restaurant Association that some of the people who circulated the petitions had not complied with all of the requirements of state law. That includes registering with the secretary of state’s office, not having been convicted of felonies, and providing an Arizona address where they could be contacted if necessary.

In fact, the judge said, based on those requirements, he would have thrown out “a score” of petitions circulated by those people, potentially leaving initiative backers with insufficient signatures.

But Rogers did not do that for one simple reason: He said challengers waited too long to file suit. And that means any and all of their claims are legally void and Proposition 206 can go on the ballot,

Arizona law does allow any person to challenge the registration of circulators. But Rogers said there is a caveat.

A challenge may not be commenced more than (ITALICS) five days (ROMAN) after the date on which the petitions for which the circulator is required to be registered are filed with the secretary of state,” he pointed out. And Rogers said the lawsuit was not filed within that period.

Period.

Rogers specifically rejected the contention of attorneys for the challengers that the measure should be read to mean “five business days” which would exclude Saturday and Sunday from the count — and would have meant the complaint was filed in time.

Sorry, restaurant association, but day means day.

Oops. Maybe not.

Steve Chucri, executive director of the Arizona Restaurant Association, said paperwork already has been filed to take the issue to the state Supreme Court.

Who are these guys and why are they against raising people out of poverty?

... Tomas Robles, who chairs the Arizona Healthy Working Families initiative, expressed optimism that the voters will get the last word.

“This initiative is about giving our fellow citizens a chance to empower themselves and decide what is best for our state,” he said in a prepared statement. “Who cannot see the positive in that?”

Hundreds of thousands workers would see an immediate boost in their wages. (Check the Star's article for more details.)

... Chucri said the idea of a $12 minimum won’t sell with voters here.

So put it to the ultimate test at the ballot box. The restaurant association should stop with the legal nit-picking and let the voters decide on the merits.

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