Arizona Supreme Court Declines To Block Higher Minimum Wage

Published: Thursday, December 29, 2016 - 10:26pm
Updated: Thursday, December 29, 2016 - 10:29pm
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The Arizona Supreme Court this morning denied a request to block a new, higher minimum wage from taking effect on Sunday. Voters approved Proposition 206 in November. It will raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour on New Year's Day, eventually reaching $12 an hour by 2020.

The measure also requires employers to provide their workers with at least three days of paid sick leave each year. Proposition 206 organizer Tomas Robles said he was confident the law would be allowed to take effect.

"Oh, we wrote the proposition to make sure that we were well within the scope of the law and make sure that it was airtight in terms of ensuring that we would not be out of regulation," said Robles.

But critics of the higher minimum wage, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, maintain the measure is unconstitutional. Among their arguments – Proposition 206 violates the requirement of voter-approved spending to identify where that money will come from.

Arizona’s Medicaid program plans to boost payments as part of its contracts. Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber, doesn’t buy the argument that the measure does not require state agencies to pay more.

"This is splitting hairs. They have to do it, or the system could suffer greatly. And providers providing necessary care to the indigent and those most in need of health care could go out of business. They have to do it," Hamer said.

For more on what Thursday's decision means, both for this weekend and beyond, we turned to Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services for insight.

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