Secretary of state certifies minimum wage increase for ballot; what does Asa say now? | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Secretary of state certifies minimum wage increase for ballot; what does Asa say now?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 11:48 AM

BOTH SIDES NOW: Will Asa Hutchinson ever answer a direct question about minimum wage measure?
  • BOTH SIDES NOW: Will Asa Hutchinson ever answer a direct question about minimum wage measure?
The secretary of state's office has certified a proposal to increase the state minimum wage for the Nov. 4 election ballot.

The measure, pushed by a coalition of labor, Democratic and progressive organizations, would raise the existing minimum wage of $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017. Every significant Democratic candidate has expressed support for the issue. No Republican candidate has announced support for it.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson — perhaps tipped by friends in the Republican secretary of state's office that approval was forthcoming — just happened to issue a news release yesterday expressing general support for an increase in the minimum wage. The statement did NOT express support for the referred act, as some seem to think. I have twice asked his campaign 1) if he supports the ballot initiative and 2) if he will vote for it. He's on the record firmly with multiple statements in OPPOSITION to the ballot initiative. He has said he favors an increase by the legislature, and only to $7.25, and only if economic circumstances permit. Since 2006, the legislature has been unwilling to raise the minimum wage, lowest in the country except for a couple of states with no minimum. Asa Hutchinson also said yesterday he supported a "living wage" for Arkansans. What a joke. That's an economic term that signifies an amount necessary to sustain support from income. In Pulaski County, that currently means $8.53 an hour for a single adult and $17 an hour for an adult and a child. It hardly squares with the $7.25 (the federal minimum) he says he supports.

The petition drive needed 62,507 signatures. The drive — because of some problems in form of the petitions and a number of disqualifications — barely made the count of facially acceptable signatures to qualify for an additional 30 days of canvassing. More than 70,000 additional signatures were turned in and the secretary of state has now certified that the requisite number of valid signatures of registered voters were submitted.

The secretary of state's office said sponsors turned in a total of 129,989 signatures for verification and, as of this morning, 70,074 had been verified. Verification will continue.

No formal challenge of this measure has been mounted yet, though Republican-friendly sources, including an attorney for the state GOP, monitored this effort. A separate effort to allow alcohol sales statewide has drawn more legal scrutiny, including an argument that the secretary of state's decision to extend the initial deadline to July 7 because state offices were closed on July 4 wasn't allowed by the Constitution. If that argument is mounted against the alcohol measure and prevails, it could still hold peril for the minimum wage proposal.

Sen. Mark Pryor has already reiterated his support and called on Republican opponent Tom Cotton to join in support of this "common sense" proposal. He won't be holding his breath. The same for the congressional candidates. My favorite in this lot is Republican millionaire banker J. French Hill, the putative ninth-generation Arkansans, who's on the record in opposition to a minimum wage, period. He's running against former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays, who supports the minimum wage increase, as do 1st District and 4th District candidates Jackie McPherson and James Lee Witt.

The increase would help 170,000 people and polls show the idea enjoys broad support among voters.

Among other statements, Democratic Party Chair Vince Insalaco noted that Tom Cotton has said in the past that he was "studying" the issue. "Study hall is over," Insalaco said.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • New report on ill consequences of charter schools

    A new report by the Network for Public Education challenges the talking points for the charter school movement and details ways they can be damaging to children and real public schools.
    • Nov 21, 2017
  • Little Rock Airport reports landing mishap

    The Clinton National Airport reports that brakes failed on a private aircraft landing shortly before midnight last night, but no one was hurt.
    • Nov 21, 2017
  • State employee keeps job after texts with teen

    40/29 reports on an investigation of a state driver's license examiner after a mother complained he'd sent inappropriate texts to her 17-year-old daughter.
    • Nov 21, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • Donald Trump declares war on Hillary Clinton's marriage

    Donald Trump gave a remarkable interview to the New York Times yesterday in which he declared open season on the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's past infidelity. Seems like a loser, but I've been wrong before.
    • Oct 1, 2016
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Little Rock Airport reports landing mishap

    • Whew. Happy to read that Greg and his passenger were unhurt. He is one of…

    • on November 21, 2017
  • Re: Protest set on tax legislation

    • Republicans don't care about the debt, stuie. They don't care about anybody's grandchildren except their…

    • on November 21, 2017
  • Re: Monday's open line

    • I personally find the whole "Personhood for fetuses" absolutely absurd. How stupid to insert it…

    • on November 20, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation