While there is still legal wrangling over Prop. 205, the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol, one initiative is now certain to appear on the ballot: Prop. 206, the Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families, initiative, which would raise the minimum wage and require employers to provide paid time off.
Steve Chucri and the Arizona Restaurant Association lost their challenge on a legal technicality: their claim was time barred because it was filed too late. The lawyers in this case may have a problem, a blown deadline is one of the most frequent bar complaints made against attorneys. I’m just sayin’. Maybe Chucri will just refuse to tip for bad service.
Howard Fischer reports, High court confirms Arizona $12 minimum wage increase for November ballot:
In a brief order Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court said the Arizona Restaurant Association waited too long before filing its lawsuit challenging whether there were sufficient valid signatures to put Proposition 206 on the ballot. Justice Scott Bales, writing for the court, said the plain language of the statute gives foes just five days to act after the petitions are filed with the secretary of state’s office.
The high court specifically rejected arguments by attorneys for the restaurant group that the legislature, in crafting the law, must have meant that challengers have five business days. That would exclude weekends, which would have made the lawsuit timely.
Bales, however, said lawmakers know that words mean what they say.
“When the legislature wants to designate the meaning of ‘days’ in election statutes to be something other than calendar days … it has done so expressly,” he wrote. Bales said that did not happen here.
The fight over the meaning of “five days” was crucial because Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joshua Rogers ruled that many of the people who had circulated petitions had not complied with laws requiring them to register with the secretary of state’s office and provide an Arizona address where they could be contacted. That would disqualify all the signatures they gathered, leaving the petition drive short of the legal minimum.
But Rogers ruled — and the Supreme Court agreed — that it doesn’t matter whether the petitions are flawed because the challengers waited too long to bring their lawsuit.
The ruling provoked an angry reaction from Steve Chucri, president of the restaurant group.
“The laws that are in place to protect voters and the initiative process from noncompliant political committees and petition circulators exist for a reason,” he said in a prepared statement. “The court’s ruling overlooks those important interests in favor of a technicality.”
There are also laws in place that litigants must follow to protect voters and the initiative process from noncompliant litigants, so quitcherbitchin Chucri, you blew it. You have no one to blame but yourself (and maybe your attorneys). Aren’t you Chamber guys supposed to be super-sophisiticats who know how to rig the game in your favor? You can’t read the plain language of the statute?
Proposition 206 would mean an immediate increase to $10 an hour in January, going to $12 by 2020. It also retains the requirement for inflation-indexed future increases.
It also has something not in the original law: a requirement for three days of paid leave for workers of small firms and five days for those employed at larger firms.
“We are prepared to make our case to voters that a 50 percent increase in the minimum wage and mandated paid leave is bad for job creators and job seekers,” Glenn Hamer, the chamber’s president, said in his own prepared statement. He echoed the theme of business interests trying to suppress higher minimum wages at the federal level, saying such a change “will actually hurt the hardworking Arizonans the initiative’s proponents claim to want to help.”
Tea-Publicans are the Low Wages Party, and their allies in the Chamber organizations want to deny working men and women a livable wage and paid time off from work when they need it. That’s going to ingratiate them with voters.
And let’s not forget that our lawless Tea-Publican legislature passed two bills this past session seeking to redefine wages and to preempt local governments from enacting their own rules on paid time off, something that Prop. 202 (2006), the Arizona Minimum Wage Act authorized. The legislative attempts to rewrite this citizens initiative were likely unconstitutional under the Voter Protection Act. Prop. 206 would reverse our lawless Tea-Publican legislature’s attempts to rewrite the Arizona Minimum Wage Act.