LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- Raising minimum wage in Arkansas
is back in the public eye once again, and rather than taking the issue to
legislators, the group heading the effort wants Arkansas voters to
The last time that
minimum wage went up in Arkansas was in 2006 when then Governor Mike Huckabee
called a special session. The hourly rate went from $5.15 to $6.25, where it
unsuccessful tries to have new legislation passed, the Give Arkansas a Raise Now
coalition wants to take the matter to voters.
Documentation of an
initiated act is heading to the attorney general's office to help Arkansans on
minimum wage get a boost.
"Really who we want
support from is we want support from those who will go to the ballot box in
November," said Stephen Copely, chair of the coalition. "Those are ordinary
folks that will have to sign petitions, and then go vote for it."
If the wording is approved
by the attorney general, it's a measure that will need more than 62,000
signatures by July, before it can make it on the November ballot.
A similar proposal went
before a house committee in the 2013 legislative session, but died quickly from
lack of support. Channel Seven spoke with Public Health, Welfare and Labor
Committee Chairman Andy Mayberry (R) Tuesday; he said there was concern of how
it would impact businesses and unemployment.
GARN looks at its
proposal as a way to improve the quality of life.
"If they're getting
$15,000 a year, and you start doing that math. $5,600 a year for groceries, or
$5,200. $3,600 for rent, and all of that would be minimal. Where's the
paycheck? It's gone," Copely added.
If the wording of this
initiated act is approved by the attorney general's office, then a petition has
to be approved by the Arkansas Secretary of State's office.
Only after those steps,
can the coalition move forward to pursue the more than 62,000 signatures needed.
GARN said Tuesday is believes the effort to acquire signatures could cost about
$250,000-300,000 for workers around the state.
Currently minimum wage
sits at $6.25 but if this act passes, minimum wage would move to $7.50 in 2015,
$8.00 in 2016 then all the way up to $8.50 in 2017.
It's expected this could
become a large topic to go along with political races in November, and Copely, the
coalition chair responded to that question.
"In fact, what we
would do is welcome any candidate from whatever background," he said. "Any
party, from whatever background, who wanted to sit down and visit with us about
endorsing it or supporting it."
By law, the attorney
general has 10 business days to respond to the filing, which after the holidays
will go into the 2014 year.
Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:14:58 GMT
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