Wednesday, August 31, 2016

AZ Supreme Court OKs Prop 206 "minimum wage" for November ballot

Howard Fischer reports the Court decision in the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required).

Arizonans will get to decide in November whether to hike the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

In a brief order this afternoon the Arizona Supreme Court said challengers, led by the Arizona Restaurant Association, waited too long before challenging the petitions. The court said the plain language of the statute gives foes just five days.

The justices specifically rejected arguments by attorneys for opponents that they should read the deadline for challenges to mean five business days, excluding weekends. Chief Justice Scott Bales, writing the order, said words mean what they say.

“When the Legislature wants to designate the meaning of ‘days’ in election statutes to be something other than calendar days … it has done so expressly,” he wrote.

Fox10TV reported the story yesterday with reactions from advocates and opponents.

The group backing the measure, the Arizona Healthy Working Families Initiative, said the high court decision was "another big victory for Arizona voters."

"This ruling allows us to get on with the business of getting Arizona's working families back in business," campaign chairman Tomas Robles said in a statement. "We are happy the state Supreme Court saw through the petty tactics of the Arizona Restaurant Association and cleared the way for voters to decide on an initiative designed to improve the lives of our fellow citizens."

The initiative would increase the minimum wage next year to $10 an hour and then to $12 by 2020. It also would require large employers to provide five days of sick time a year and small employers three days.

Restaurant Association President Steve Chucri wasn't immediately available for comment. But the Arizona Chamber of Commerce praised the association's efforts and pledged to fight the measure in November.

"We are prepared to make our case to voters that a 50 percent increase in the minimum wage and mandated paid leave is bad for job creators and job seekers, and that it will actually hurt the hardworking Arizonans the initiative's proponents claim to want to help," Chamber President Glenn Hamer said in a statement.

Reading between the lines: the Chamber, according to Hamer, will continue to hammer away at those living below the poverty line.

Scriber offers a solution that might be a win-win-win. McDonalds, and similar establishments, can fire half their workers so that the other half will earn the minimum wage. Then they can cut back their sales by 50%. Consumers will be forced into a healthier diet. See? Win-win-win.

Here's email announcing the Court action from Tomas Robles, Deputy Campaign Manager, Arizona Healthy Working Families.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers and supporters across Arizona, Proposition 206 will officially be on the ballot on November 8th.

Voting yes on Prop 206 on Election Day is a vote to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 and provide earned paid sick leave for about a million workers. Talk about a life-changer for those Arizonans who currently struggle to make ends meet and care for their families, despite working full time.

Getting on the ballot is just step one. Now, we need to spread the word to make sure our friends and neighbors know that they can vote to raise the wage and provide paid sick days to all workers on November 8th.

You can do that right now by sharing this on Facebook:

We’ll be in touch in coming weeks with more opportunities to help out. Thanks in advance for being part of this!

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