Arkansas Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To Minimum Wage Initiative

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM)- The Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday (Oct. 27) rejected a petition challenging a proposed act that would raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017.

(Click here to read the opinion issued by the Arkansas Supreme Court.)

The ruling means the initiative sponsored by Give Arkansas A Raise Now will be on the Nov. 4 ballot and votes cast during early voting will be counted.

Give Arkansas A Raise Now needed to collect 62,507 signatures from registered Arkansas voters to get the measure on the ballot. On July 7, the group submitted 64,133 signatures, but on July 18 the Secretary of State’s office announced more than 3,000 of them were invalid and gave supporters 30 days to gather additional signatures.

On August 18, Give Arkansas A Raise Now submitted the additional signatures. Three days later, the Secretary of State’s office announced the petition had no fewer than 70,074 signatures and would be put on the ballot as Issue No. 5.

The minimum wage issue went before the Arkansas Supreme Court after Little Rock businessman, Jackson Thomas Stephens Jr., filed a lawsuit claiming Give Arkansas A Raise Now should not have been given 30 days to collect more signatures because some of the petitions did not have a legible copy of the entire ballot proposal and the notary’s signature on some petitions was forged.

On Oct. 10 a special master appointed to the case issued a report that found Give Arkansas A Raise Now submitted enough valid signatures to the Secretary of State to qualify for the 30-day cure period.

Records show Arkansas, Wyoming and Georgia are the only states in the country with a minimum wage lower than the federal minimum of $7.25.

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