Friday, December 30, 2016

Prop 206 (minimum wage) survives GOP assault: AZ Supreme Court declines injunction

Guv Duce and the AZ Chamber of Commerce failed in their attempt to get the Court to stop the increased minimum wage from taking effect on January 1st. Howard Fischer at the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports that the Arizona Supreme Court declines to block Prop 206. Here are snippets.

More than 700,000 Arizonans will get a wage hike beginning Sunday.

Without comment the state Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a last-ditch bid by the business community, with support from Gov. Doug Ducey and legislative leaders, to delay the effect of Proposition 206. That measure, approved earlier this year by voters on a 58–42 margin, raises the current minimum wage of $8.05 an hour to $10 at the beginning of 2017.

The same initiative eventually increases that to $12 an hour by 2020. And beginning July 1 it requires employers to provide workers with at least three days of paid sick leave each year.

Thursday’s ruling does not end the matter.

The justices have agreed to consider claims by initiative foes that the measure violates a constitutional provision that requires all ballot proposals that result in new state spending to have a dedicated revenue source. But that won’t occur until February, meaning the $10 requirement will remain in place at least until then — if not beyond.

But Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, conceded Thursday that getting an injunction even then could prove difficult.

Arizona court rules provide a multi-part test for judges to consider when deciding whether to enjoin a new law from taking effect. One factor is whether the challengers are likely to prevail after a full-blown court hearing.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Kiley, who last week turned down the request for an injunction, said in a 13-page ruling that the chamber and its allies had not met that burden. The Supreme Court, with Thursday’s order, essentially ratified his conclusion.

In my legally unschooled opinion, that sounds like Prop 206 opponents are unlikely to prevail. Good on AZ voters!

There is also the fact that Thursday’s order says the chamber’s request to block the wage hike was considered by all five of the current justices. And there was no indication any of them sided with initiative foes on the request.

However, it’s not over until the fat legislature sings.

… Hamer said something else will be different by February that could help the chamber make its case that the initiative is an illegal mandate to increase spending.

“The facts will be clearer by that point in terms of its effects on the state budget,” he said.

All the Lege has to do is to treat Prop 206 the same way they treated education - plead poverty.

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