AZ Supreme Court to consider Prop. 206 Minimum Wage appeal

The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments by Chamber of Commerce organizations that the new voter-approved minimum wage, Prop. 206, violates the state’s Constitution. State Supreme Court agrees to take up minimum wage case:

The Arizona Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction of the case and announced Tuesday afternoon it will hold a hearing on March 9. At the heart of the issue, which the court will hear, is the claim that Proposition 206 violates the Constitution’s revenue source rule. The case was brought by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and other business groups and supported by Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican legislative leaders.

Justices had declined to block the minimum wage from taking effect on January 1, spurning an appeal from those same business groups after their initial complaint was struck down in Maricopa County Superior Court. Now attorneys will again argue that Proposition 206 violates a requirement in the Arizona Constitution that any new voter-mandated spending designate a funding source to cover its costs. The funding stream may not come from the general fund.

Attorneys for the chamber had offered up other legal arguments against the law in Superior Court, but the Supreme Court will only hear arguments concerning the revenue source rule. Opponents of the minimum wage hike contend the state is forced to increase spending for services through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which contracts with service providers to ensure people have access to care.

Not doing so could lead to the state running afoul of federal regulations and losing federal funds, opponents have argued.

Attorneys for the Fair Wages and Healthy Families campaign have argued that any spending increases caused by Proposition 206 are indirect, as the state was explicitly exempted from having to raise the minimum wage for its own employees. The group contends that the Legislature’s authority to appropriate or not appropriate funds was unaffected by the initiative.

The Attorney General’s Office has echoed those arguments in court, as Attorney General Mark Brnovich chose to defend the law. Ducey and legislative Republicans have filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court effectively supporting the Chamber of Commerce’s core arguments.

Stay tuned.