Minnesota Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Wage Ballot Question

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The push to put more money in the pockets of low-wage workers has gone from Minneapolis city streets to City Hall.

That is where it ran into resistance when council members decided against a $15 minimum wage ordinance.

Supporters of the measure went to work and secured enough signatures to ask voters in November to amend the city charter. That amendment would commit the city to enforce a graduated push to enforce the higher minimum wage within the next six years.

After a Hennepin County District Court judge agreed with the process, the city appealed that decision to the State Supreme court.

On Tuesday, the five justices listened to arguments from both sides as to the legalities of letting voters decide such measures.

Attorney Charles Nauen represented the city of Minneapolis, asking justices, “Is the minimum wage proposal a proper charter amendment under Minnesota law? The answer to that is no.”

Nauen went on to argue that the 96-year-old city charter never intended to allow for initiative and referendum. He said the job of setting municipal code and legislation rests entirely with the elected council members. Nauen added that charter amendments lack the flexibility of ordinances.

“Suddenly this opens the door to having charter amendments which really are in the nature of ordinances but not with the same flexibility to deal with that ordinance,” Nauen said.

Attorney Brian Nestor, who argued on behalf of plaintiffs, said the lower court got it right, adding that the high court should affirm the judge’s decision to allow the voters decide.

“The long history by home rule charters has been used by cities in Minnesota to regulate the local functions of promoting the general welfare of their residents,” Nestor said.

Justices will now have to decide where that power resides, with the people or those they elect. Both the minimum wage and mandated police liability insurance amendments seek to be on the ballot, so the city needs a decision immediately. It set a Friday deadline for ballots to be formalized.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce the decision within days, with its written opinion coming later.

More from Bill Hudson

One Comment

  1. Kally Waters says:

    I say go for $25 an hour, or if this works next vote go for $50 an hour.

    1. Dan Mack says:

      A far more reaching case is how votes are counted. The United States Supreme Court on Tuesday opted to hear arguments in a case that could redefine “one person, one vote” — one of the bedrock principles of modern voting rights law. The case could change how electoral districts are drawn across the country, revamping who comprises electoral districts and reshaping the idea of who is ultimately “represented” by elected officials. IE; illegals, non-citizens wanting those $15/hr ,

      1. Dan Mack says:

        Of course illegals and non-citizens are not asked to show ID when they vote in Minnesota. Every vote counts in the DFL Socialist Village.

  2. John Random says:

    Jobs that pay minimum wage generally are for high schooler’s and people taking a 2nd part time job to make ends meet…. if this is your career, better yourself and shoot for a job that doesn’t pay minimum wage instead of doing the job of a 14 year old and expect to get paid like a professional.

  3. hdmc says:

    Farewell to small businesses, cashiers, and any human that used to answer the phone. So long to customer service, fair prices, and low unemployment rates. maybe things need to change, but not like this. why not instead invest in higher education, infrastructure, and redevelopment? something that CREATES higher paying jobs? crazy notion right?

  4. And I was thinking about opening a few flower marts in Mpls for 2017? You have to be kidding me! Raise my labor costs by 30%? So where am I going to take the hit? In my profit, increase my retail price, cut my labor back? Nope, won’t even think about doing business in Mpls.

  5. mike madison says:

    this wouldn’t be an issue if liberals didn’t have a horrendous record of economic policies.

  6. Bud Smith says:

    The council didn’t DECIDE. It was determined to be illegal to put to a vote.

    This is easy, limit the number of workers, wages go up. Simple.

    The sanctuary city needs to work with ICE to send illegals back home. Less workers, higher pay.

    1. Dan Mack says:

      Illegal aliens have rights. Here in the Socialist Village through the miracle of affirmative action, we can provide free housing, Obamacare, EBT cards, and all college expanses to the illegals and then give them all high paying government union jobs. They only come here for the easy life, How can you blame them? We can afford it. It’s the right thing to do.

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