Lawsuit Challenges State Minimum Wage Law

Apr 13, 2015

A group advocating for higher minimum wages in Arizona has filed a lawsuit against the state. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the suit seeks to overturn a law it says unconstitutionally takes power away from the local level.

Flagstaff City Council member Eva Putzova and attorney Mik Jordahl represent the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition. The group filed a lawsuit against the State of Arizona to allow cities to determine local minimum wages.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

The 2013 law passed by the state legislature prevents municipalities from establishing a minimum wage higher than what the state sets. But the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition says that law is in direct conflict with a 2006 voter-passed ballot initiative giving individual cities the power to determine minimum wages higher than the state’s.

Eva Putzova is a member of the Flagstaff City Council and works with the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition.

“I think it’s very important that we maintain local control over local issues. And in this case, clearly the legislators overstepped their authority and we want to make sure the legislation they passed is declared unconstitutional,” Putzova says.

Only a ballot measure can repeal a voter-passed initiative, and the state legislature needs a supermajority to make any changes.

Arizona’s current minimum wage is $8.05 per hour.