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Opponents of a minimum wage ballot measure ask Oklahoma’s high court to revisit ruling

Carmen Forman
/
Oklahoma Voice

Critics of an initiative petition that seeks to raise the minimum wage are asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to revisit its decision that the petition was constitutional.

“Rehearing is needed here to clarify the scope and impact of this Court’s decision because the Court’s ruling did not provide an explanation for its conclusion,” the brief said.

The State Chamber and Farm Bureau Legal Foundation in November asked the court to toss out the petition on the grounds that it unconstitutionally delegated legislative power to a federal agency.

Proposed State Question 832, if approved by voters, would increase the minimum wage to $9 in 2025 with additional gradual increases until it hit $15 an hour in 2029. It is currently $7.25 an hour and is tied to the federal minimum wage.

Additional increases would be tied to the cost of living measured by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court found March 4 in a short order that the petition did not violate the state or federal constitutions.

“Unfortunately, the corporate monied interests behind the State Chamber have thrown a Hail Mary pass at the last minute to once again to try to delay this effort and block voters from having a say on gradually increasing the minimum wage for Oklahoma workers and their families,” said Amber England, Raise the Wage Oklahoma campaign spokesperson. The group proposed the petition.

Supporters filed a response saying the window to make the November 2024 ballot is “rapidly closing.”

“Such delay tactics should not be countenanced,” the brief from proponents said.

Signature gathering was set to start April 8, with 90 days to collect the signatures. But that date got put on hold by the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office with the request for rehearing.

Proponents asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to deny the request for rehearing or act quickly.

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Oklahoma Voice is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oklahoma Voice maintains editorial independence.

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