A measure to raise the state’s minimum wage will be on the November ballot, according to an announcement from the secretary of state’s office Wednesday. The measure, if passed by voters, would incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage of $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017.
Steve Copley chairs the group that put the issue on the ballot. He said now that the measure is on the ballot it’s time for Give Arkansas A Raise Now to regroup for the general election.
“It has polled well which leads us to believe that being on the ballot it stands a good chance of winning but there is much work to do. Over the next seven or eight days we’re going to wrap up our plan for what we want to do for the next couple of months to get word out. So, just kind of transitioning to that next step,” said Copley.
After falling short of the over 62,000 certified signatures needed in an initial count, the ballot group was given 30 days to collect more. Give Arkansas A Raise Now turned in nearly 70,000 raw signatures during the cure period. The secretary of state’s office says at least 62,000 of the over 129,000 raw signatures turned in have been certified at this point.
Chair Steve Copley said the group stepped up its efforts to make sure they’d gather enough signatures.
“I equate it to running a race. You go at a slower, more modified pace, when you have four or five months. When you have a month to cure you go quickly and as hard as you can,” said Copley.
Every Democratic and Green Party candidate for congressional office and most in the state races support the ballot proposal. No Republicans or Libertarians for Congressional office or major state offices have expressed support for the minimum wage hike.
The ballot placement comes as fast food workers are staging their second rally to protest low wages in Little Rock. Workers are expected to march at the McDonald's on Broadway in downtown Little Rock on Thursday. Some are expected to strike in what would be the first strike action related to fast food in the city.