Action Alert: GOP war on the Arizona Minimum Wage Act is in the Senate today

At the end of February I posted about the GOP war on Arizona’s Minimum Wage Act, enacted by the voters of this state through a citizens initiative. Action Alert: GOP war on the Arizona Minimum Wage Act is in the House today:

RaiseTheWageSeveral versions of bills to carry out Il Duce’s threat [to prevent cities from enacting local minimum wages] are currently making their way through the legislature. Our authoritarian lawless Tea-Publican legislature is attempting to preempt local ordinances for minimum wage and employee benefits, e.g., paid time off, while quashing the will of the voters as enacted in the Arizona Minimum Wage Act in 2006.

Now comes a “back-door” attempt to redefine pay and benefits from the evil bastards at the Arizona Restaurant Association to effectively gut the Arizona Minimum Wage Act by a simple legislative act (which likely violates the Voter Protection Act, something our lawless Tea-Publican legislature is also seeking to repeal this session).

HB 2579 seeks to narrow the definition of exactly what “wages” are, to include only the cash compensation paid.

Since this post, our lawless Tea-Publican legislature has passed and Il Duce has already signed SB 1487 (.pdf) which allows any legislator to ask the attorney general’s office to investigate whether a local ordinance or policy is contrary to state law. If the attorney general finds the state statute is being violated, the local government would be given 30 days to bring their local practices into compliance. If a city, town or county fails to comply it would require the state treasurer to stop providing state aid and redistribute those dollars to every other community. Authoritarian Tea-Publicans impose ‘Big Brother’ control over local governments (Updated).

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature has also advanced a bill to effectively repeal the Voter Protection Act enacted by the voters of this state through a citizens initiative, which would allow our lawless Tea-Publican legislature to undo whatever the voters of this state direct them to do through a citizens initiative. Authoritarian Tea-Publicans want you to relinquish your Voter Protection Act. Fortunately, this bill has to go to the ballot for voter approval. Just vote no!

The next piece of this multi-pronged attack on the Arizona Minimum Wage Act is up for a vote this afternoon in the Senate Appropriations Committee. A strike-everything amendment to HCR2014, proposed by Sen. Don Shooter, would declare a uniform minimum wage a “matter of statewide concern” in an attempt to void local ordinances authorized by the voters of this state in the Arizona Minimum Wage Act.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, State measure would prevent cities from setting their own minimum wages:

kill-bill-vol-1The Arizona Senate is set to consider a measure that would strip Arizona’s counties, cities and towns of the ability to set their own minimum wages and their explicit right to adopt employee benefits of their own liking.

A strike-everything amendment to HCR2014, proposed by Sen. Don Shooter, would declare a uniform minimum wage a “matter of statewide concern.”

The statewide minimum wage would be raised from $8.05 to $8.41 beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and would incrementally increase each following year, up to $9.50 in 2020.

After that, Arizona’s minimum wage would increase annually to account for cost of living adjustments. However, the amendment changes how cost of living adjustments are accounted for. Rather than calculate the adjustment based on data from the immediately preceding year, cost of living would be adjusted based on two-year-old data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If approved by the Legislature, voters would also have to approve the measure in November.

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Under Shooter’s proposal, counties, cities and towns would no longer have the explicit right to adopt their own benefit policies. But they likely would still be able to do so, as the new language proposed in the amendment declares only that a uniform minimum wage is a matter of statewide concern. It makes no mention of benefits.

* * *

Service industry workers would also see their wages cut under Shooter’s proposal. For employees who regularly receive tips, their employers could pay them 40 percent less than the minimum wage, according to the amendment, a bigger hit on an employee’s base salary than current statute allows. Arizona employers in the service industry can now pay $3 less than the minimum wage.

Lawmakers will consider Shooter’s amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

Contact your state legislators now to kill this strike-everything amendment to HCR2014, proposed by Sen. Don Shooter. If this measure makes it to the ballot, just vote no! Then vote to remove from office every Tea-Publican legislator who votes to put this measure on the ballot.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports that a coalition to fight this GOP war on the Arizona Minimum Wage Act is gearing up to fight back with another citizens initiative. Backers of higher minimum wage push for November ballot measure:

Advocates of a minimum wage that could be as high as $15 an hour are staffing up and planning to kick off a campaign for a November ballot measure within the next two weeks.

But with less than four months to collect nearly a quarter million signatures, the campaign faces an uphill climb.

Supporters on Friday formed a ballot measure campaign committee, Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families, to support the effort. Tomas Robles, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), which is a key member of the coalition, is listed as the committee’s chairman.

And LUCHA posted an online ad seeking a campaign manager for the effort. The ad on the Center for Popular Democracy’s website said the campaign aims to “raise wage levels and improve benefits for working families in Arizona.”

Democratic campaign consultant Bill Scheel, whose firm, Javelina, is also part of the effort, said the group is completing its proposed ballot measure language. He said the campaign expects to begin by the start of April.

Among the decisions the group has yet to complete is exactly how high to set the proposed minimum wage. Scheel said polling shows strong support for a minimum wage in the $14 to $15 range, and that the measure is likely to include “strong provisions for other potential benefits for workers.”

The campaign’s biggest obstacle will undoubtedly be collecting a massive number of signatures by July 7, the deadline for ballot measure committees. The proposal needs 150,642 valid signatures to get onto the November ballot.  Scheel estimated that the campaign will need to collect between 225,000 and 240,000 in order to give itself a sizeable cushion to account for invalid signatures.

Nonetheless, he expressed confidence that it could be done. He said the campaign has significant funding commitments from national individuals and labor organizations, and expects to run a multimillion-dollar campaign.

“The funding commitments that we have gotten as we move forward are very substantial. I don’t have any concerns about getting on the ballot,” Scheel said.

It’s time that people wake up and realize that our authoritarian lawless Tea-Publican legislature is engaged in a war against the citizens of this state. It’s time to join the battle, and to fight back against these evil GOP bastards with all that we have.

UPDATE: AZ Senate panel OKs bill barring communities’ ‘living wages’:

Acceding to pressure from business interests and governor [Il Duce], Republican state lawmakers are moving to undermine the ability of individual communities to establish their own “living wages” higher than the mandated state minimum.

The 5-3 vote Tuesday on HCR 2014 by the Senate Appropriations Committee came after a plea from Chianne Hewer, lobbyist for the Arizona Restaurant and Hospitality Association. That group, which unsuccessfully fought the 2006 initiative to establish a state minimum wage, has given up on persuading voters to rescind that action.

But what the restaurants want to do now is short-circuit efforts in some communities to require employers to pay their workers even more.

The change would require voter approval in November.

It-is-better-to-die-on-your-feet-than-to-live-on-your-knees

4 responses to “Action Alert: GOP war on the Arizona Minimum Wage Act is in the Senate today

  1. The Leg doesn’t really have much to threaten towns and cities with now — they don’t give them hardly any state aid anymore.

  2. They’re scared. The GOTeaP is a bunch of nasty little lying chicken fraidy-pants.

    If one town raises the minimum wage, and it doesn’t cause a huge drain on the local economy, or heaven forbid, the local economy improves because there’s more money in the pockets of people who spend it (look up velocity of money) it will expose their lies and cherry picking for what it is – protecting Wall Street hedge fund manager’s unearned profits.

    If they had the courage of their beliefs, they’d let a few towns raise the minimum wage and then, assuming their tinkle-down nonsense proves true, they can say “Told you so!”

    If they had the courage of their beliefs, they’d let “government that governs closest to the people” do it’s thing, and let local communities become the “laboratories of democracy”.

    But they don’t have the courage of their beliefs, because they know their beliefs are lies.

    The GOTeaP is a scam. A scaredy-little bunch of scam artists, afraid of being caught.

  3. I believe the “die on your feet ” quote is Socrates.

    • AZ BlueMeanie

      That would be Euripides. He may have said it first, but people in this part of the country are more familiar with Zapata.