Initiative to raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour passes key hurdle

minimum wage

A constitutional initiative to let Floridians decide whether to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour has passed a key milestone.

The Florida for a Fair Wage campaign says it has collected enough validated voter signatures to qualify the proposed state constitutional amendment for a spot on the November 2020 general election ballot. The campaign has 766,352 validated signatures as of Wednesday, according to the state Division of Elections, exceeding the 766,200 signature requirement.

“Today, I am proud to stand alongside my fellow compassionate Floridians who believe, as I do, that their neighbors deserve the dignity of a living wage,” John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who is leading the campaign, said in a statement.

The Florida Supreme Court must still review the amendment language for clarity before it can be placed before voters next year.

“I am confident that the Supreme Court will have no objection to our amendment, and Floridians will be able to vote in favor of fair wages in their state,” Morgan said.

Florida’s current minimum wage is $8.46 an hour, or about $17,600 a year.

The amendment, if approved by at least 60 percent of the voters next year, would increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2021. The wage would increase by $1 an hour in every following year until 2026, when it would reach $15 an hour. In subsequent years, the minimum wage would be adjusted based on an inflation formula.

Gov. Ron DeSantis opposes the minimum wage amendment.

“That’s going to cause big, big upheaval in the restaurant industry – it just will. When you put that in the Constitution, we can’t just go back and say, ‘Oh, let’s tweak it, let’s do that.’ We literally would have to go back and do another constitutional amendment,” DeSantis  told a business lobby group earlier this week.

The Florida Phoenix reported on the governor’s comments here.