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Lawsuit Settlement Restores Local Control Over Minimum Wages in Arizona

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AZ Central
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A lawsuit challenging the state legislature over who would set the minimum wage in Arizona’s towns and cities has been settled. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it overturns part of a state law that unconstitutionally took power from the local level.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich determined lawmakers violated the state’s Voter Protection Act in 2013. Their law prevented local municipalities from setting a minimum wage higher than the state’s.

But the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition recently sued, claiming the legislature had disregarded a 2006 voter-approved initiative that gives wage-setting powers to the local level.

The state constitution prevents lawmakers from altering or voiding such initiatives without a two-thirds vote.

The agreement with the attorney general’s office allows towns and cities in Arizona to raise their minimum wages without approval from the state.

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

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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