Florida Supreme Court Clears the Way for $15 Minimum Wage Amendment

first_imgFlorida voters will have an opportunity to decide this November whether to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, after the state’s Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously approved a ballot proposal. The measure will appear on the ballot as Amendment 2.The proposed constitutional amendment, which is spearheaded by Orlando attorney John Morgan, would need approval from 60 percent of the voters to take effect. If that happens, the state’s minimum wage would increase to $10 an hour on September 30, 2021 and increase by $1 each year until it hits $15 an hour on September 30, 2026. The minimum wage is currently $8.46 an hour.Morgan, who also led a ballot drive three years ago that legalized medical marijuana, issued the following statement Thursday:“Now, the sprint to reverse decades of inequality really starts — and let me tell you — this is going to be a tough challenge,” Morgan said. “But just like voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of medical marijuana in 2016, I’m confident that we will do the same in 2020. I’m confident because Floridians are compassionate and know that giving every worker a fair wage means not just lifting up those who would directly benefit but lifting up our broader economy when hardworking folks have more money to spend.”On the other hand, Governor Ron DeSantis and groups including the Florida Chamber of Commerce fear that increasing the minimum wage could raise costs for many businesses, and lead to job cuts.According to Edie Ousley, vice president of public affairs for the Florida Chamber, “We fully expected it to be confirmed (by the Supreme Court), but that doesn’t make it a good idea. This ballot measure will actually hurt the very people its proponent claims it will help. In fact, Florida could very likely lose nearly half a million jobs by 2026, and we’ve seen estimates that are higher than that. This is the poster child for a proposed constitutional amendment masquerading as a turnout weapon to impact the presidential election.”The Supreme Court does not typically consider the merits of proposed constitutional amendments. However, it reviews issues such as the wording of ballot titles and summaries that voters see at the polls. Justices weigh questions such as whether proposals might be misleading and whether summaries meet a 75-word limit.Thursday’s opinion stated the minimum-wage proposal “clearly and accurately identifies the subject matter, and it complies with the word-count requirement.”“Likewise, the ballot summary is clear and unambiguous and complies with the word-count requirement,” the opinion continues. “Indeed, the ballot summary is nearly identical to the language of the proposed amendment itself, and it explains in a straightforward and accurate manner how the proposed changes would affect the existing system — by raising the minimum wage incrementally on an annual basis to a certain point and then resuming the existing system of adjusting the minimum wage annually for inflation.”last_img

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