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Arkansas High Court Lets Minimum-Wage Initiative Stay on Ballot

October 29, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Four days before early voting began in Arkansas, the state Supreme Court ruled that an initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.50 an hour to $11 should stay on the Nov. 6 election ballot. The court on Oct. 18 rejected an attempt by a Chamber of Commerce front group called Arkansans for a Strong Economy to knock the Issue 5 initiative off the ballot. Justice Karen Baker’s majority opinion held that the group’s claim—that initiative organizers hadn’t gotten enough valid signatures to get the deadline for submitting petitions extended after some signatures they’d handed in were found invalid—was “without merit.” If approved by voters, the initiative would raise the state’s minimum wage in three annual steps, reaching $11 in 2021. “We are grateful that the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that it should be up to Arkansas voters, not the Chamber of Commerce, to decide on raising the wage in November,” Kristin Foster, campaign manager of the Arkansans for a Fair Wage committee, said in a statement. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson opposes the increase, saying it’s not good for the state’s economy to have the highest minimum wage in the region. Read more

October 29, 2018

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