Judge: Minimum wage question won't be on Nov. 6 ballot; proponents to appeal
Posted at: 09/11/2012 11:35 AM
| Updated at: 09/11/2012 5:53 PM
By: KOB.com staff
Albuquerque District Court Nan Nash has ruled that a minimum wage question should not be on the ballot for the November 6th election.
Judge Nash found that the City Council could not withhold the issue based on a typo that said the wage increase would go to "employers," not "employees."
City officials had refused to put that flawed wording on the ballot, saying it could lead to lawsuits.
But Judge Nash noted several other problems with the question, specifically, the fact that there are several issues being voted upon - raising the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50, tying the minimum wage to increases in the consumer price index and employers paying employees who receive tips at least 45% of the minimum wage.
Judge Nash found the "all or nothing" aspect to the ballot item problematic.
Based on these problems with the question - not the typo - Judge Nash found that it was appropriate for the City Council to refuse to put it on the ballot.
Sara Berger is the attorney for the petitioners. She disagreed with the judge's decision.
"That it's perfectly legitimate and common for legislation to be enacted with multiple provisions," Berger said.
Minimum wage activists said they would appeal District Court Judge Nash's dismissal of their petition against the City of Albuquerque.
But Berger said Santa Fe should hear her side out and put this on the November 6 ballot.
"A matter of great public importance. I think the law was interpreted wrongly. I think it's important to set the record straight," she said.
The State Supreme Court currently is looking over the appeal and could decide as early as Wednesday about the decision.
If the appeal is granted, the minimum wage question would be placed on the November 6 ballot. But if the court refuses the appeal, it is back to square one for the petitioners.
"Draft new ordinance, notify the city clerk, go through that entire process, gather those signatures, submit it to the (city) council," Berger said.
Stay with KOB Eyewitness News 4 for updates on the State Supreme Court decision.