In the days before the 2016 election HeadCount is running a new series titled “Not Just the White House,” a run down of ballot initiatives across the 50 states. This installment focuses on minimum wage increases and decreases. Previous installments were on marijuana initiatives and health care proposals.
Proposals to change the minimum wage are on the ballot in 5 states. Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington are proposing to increase their minimum wage while South Dakota wants to decrease its minimum wage for workers under the age of 18.
Throughout this election season, Senator Bernie Sanders, preached about raising the minimum wage to $15. Some heard him and some ignored him. Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington listened to a certain extent, with bills that would increase minimum wage but not to $15 an hour. So you can argue that these 4 states did indeed feel the Bern, or at least maybe a spark.
Arizona will vote on Proposition 206, which proposes raising the minimum wage to $10 in 2017, then incrementally to $12 by 2020. Proposition 206 also proposes mandating employers to offer paid sick time off. Currently, Arizona’s minimum wage is $8.05, adjusted for cost of living, and Arizona does not require employers to offer paid sick time off.
Colorado will vote on Amendment 70, which proposes raising the minimum wage from $8.31 to $9.30 per hour in 2017, and then increase it 90 cents each year until the wage reaches $12 in 2020. If Amendment 70 does not pass, the minimum wage will be held at $8.31 per hour.
Question 4 on Maine’s ballot proposes gradually increasing the state’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020, then adjusting the minimum wage with fluctuations in the consumer price index. Maine’s current law has the minimum wage set at $7.50 per hour.
South Dakota (Decrease)
South Dakota will vote to either support or oppose Senate Bill 177, which proposes a decrease in minimum wage for working minors from $8.50 to $7.50.
Washington will vote on Initiative 1433, which proposes incrementally raising the state’s minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50 by 2020 and requiring employers to offer paid sick leave.