PHOENIX – A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has disqualified signatures gathered by a substantial number of paid circulators for a voter initiative raising the state’s minimum wage from $8.05 per hour to $12 an hour by 2020.
Judge Joshua Rogers is still considering other challenges to petition circulators after a full day of testimony Thursday. Many of the circulators were disqualified because they hadn’t registered with the state and others because they had felony convictions.
Opponents of the minimum wage initiative are challenging about 70,000 signatures out of the nearly 240,000 that were turned in. About 150,000 valid signatures are needed for the measure to qualify for the November ballot.
Rogers could rule as early as Monday on the remaining legal issues in the case. The Secretary of State’s office will have to verify if there are enough signatures remaining to put the initiative on the ballot.
Attorney Jim Barton represents the initiative backers and says it may be close. Attorney Roopali Desai represents the Arizona Restaurant Association, which is challenging the signatures. She says it is unclear if they will succeed in blocking the measure, but says it is clear there were major problems with the paid petition gatherers.
A judge is set to hear a challenge to a voter initiative raising the state’s minimum wage from $8.05 per hour to $12 an hour by 2020.
The lawsuit filed by the Arizona Restaurant Association against the minimum wage initiative says many or all of the signatures are invalid because of problems with the signature-gatherers or the petition sheets themselves.
The group backing the initiative says they’re confident it will survive the challenge.
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