Thursday, September 1, 2016

Minnesota Supreme Court Strikes Down Ballot Initiative for $15 Minimum Wage in Minneapolis

The victory for proponents of a new $15 per hour minimum wage in Minneapolis turned out to be short-lived. Yesterday, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an expedited ruling that struck down a lower court ruling that had required a ballot referendum to amend the Minneapolis City Charter to add the increased minimum wage for Minneapolis workers. We recently blogged about that campaign and the lower court’s ruling.  The Supreme Court issued an abbreviated decision, due to the rapidly approaching date for printing ballots, with a more detailed decision to be issued later.

The Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling turned on the interpretation of the Minneapolis City Charter and whether the lower court’s ruling was consistent with the Charter’s wording. As noted by the Minneapolis City Attorney, Susan Segal, “This has never been about whether there should be a higher minimum wage.” “This has always been about the proper process and venue for doing that,” said Segal. 

Proponents of an increased Minneapolis minimum wage will now need to regroup and refocus their strategy towards lobbying the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor for enactment of a city ordinance, if Minneapolis is to join the growing list of cities and states seeking to adopt the higher minimum wage.

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