Minimum wage: $15 an hour in 2026? FL Supreme Court to weigh in

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American dollars. Credit: WIkimedia Commons

Attorney General Ashley Moody is requesting that the Florida Supreme Court review a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would ultimately raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Organizers have submitted more than the 10 percent of valid signatures required to trigger the Supreme Court review.

To be exact, they submitted 87,528 signatures to Florida’s Division of Elections office. By next February, they’d need to submit 766,200 valid signatures to ensure the measure gets on the ballot in the 2020 general election.

The proposal is being pushed by Orlando attorney and entrepreneur John Morgan, who led the effort to get medical marijuana on the ballot as a Constitutional Amendment in both 2014 and 2016, when it ultimately passed.

Florida’s current minimum wage is $8.46 an hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

The language in the proposed Constitutional Amendment calls for raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour, effective September 30, 2021. It would go up an additional dollar every September 30, until it reaches $15 per hour on September 30, 2026.

It would then be adjusted annually for inflation starting on September 30, 2027.

The Supreme Court is being asked to determine whether the proposed language complies with the single-subject requirement of the Florida Constitution, and whether the ballot title and summary complies with Florida law.

The Florida Supreme Court now has three new justices appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, signaling a conservative shift in the high court.

In addition, the push to get a Constitutional Amendment on the 2020 ballot comes as Republican lawmakers are actively working to make it even harder for citizens to change the Constitution.

Two measures are working their way through the Legislature this session, making it much more challenging to get a measure on the ballot.

One would raise the bar for passing such measures from 60 percent to 66.67 percent, which would be the highest percentage to change the state Constitution in the nation.

The other includes a ban on paying signature gatherers from getting paid per petition, as is currently the case.

Signature gatherers would also have to register with the Secretary of State’s office and be required to live in Florida.

The proposals, if approved, could potentially thwart current campaigns to get Constitutional Amendments on the ballot in 2020, including measures to ban assault weapons, legalize recreational marijuana and expand Medicaid.

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