While efforts to increase the minimum wage at the federal level have are basically dead for the moment, some real progress is being made at the state and local level. Not only have state legislatures and city councils moved forward with new laws this year but activist campaigns have managed to put the issue on the ballot this November in a handful of red states.
The last success is Nebraska where a minimum wage initiative just made the ballot. On Friday Secretary of State John Gale verified that the Nebraskans for Better Wages campaign had collected enough valid signatures to put their measure before voters. An impressive accomplishment given that a petition initiative hasn’t appears on the ballot in Nebraska since 2008.
If approved the measure would steadily raise the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour by January 2016. The current minimum wage in the state is only $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum.
Nebraska will join South Dakota and Alaska which already have their own minimum wage measures on the ballot this November.
While Democrats are effectively locked out of the legislative process in many states they have had some success using the initiative process to push forward on what is a big part of their 2014 campaign strategy. The hope is that these measures could help drive turnout and compensate for the enthusiasm gap Democrats are suffering from.
Photo by Chris under Creative Commons license