Nebraskans will join voters in at least two other states in considering a minimum wage hike this November.
With nearly 90,000 verified signatures — about 9,000 more than needed — a measure to raise the state’s minimum wage twice in the next two years qualified for the ballot, the secretary of state’s office announced Friday. The measure would raise the state’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $8 and $9 an hour at the start of 2015 and 2016, respectively. The measure is the first petition initiative to appear on Nebraska’s statewide ballot since 2008, according to the secretary of state’s announcement.
A similar initiative appearing on the Alaska ballot would increase the minimum wage to $8.75 and $9.75 an hour at the start of each of the next two years and then tie future increases to inflation. A South Dakota measure would increase the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour next year and index further increases to inflation, as well.
Supporters for a minimum wage increase in Arkansas have until the end of today to turn in enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, which the group backing the hike expects it will be able to do, according to local news media. A measure to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour failed last month to qualify for the ballot. A group in Massachusetts withdrew its petition after the legislature voted to raise the minimum wage in June.
As of Aug. 1, 34 state legislatures had considered minimum wage hikes this year, with 10 and D.C. enacting them, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Twenty-three states have minimum wages above the federal standard of $7.25 an hour. Five states have no minimum wage, defaulting to the federal level.
At least 12 states have plans to increase the minimum wage over the next several years. On Jan. 1, five states will have a minimum wage of $9 an hour or more. By the summer of 2018, that number will double. No states currently have a $10 minimum, but by July 2018, six will have reached or surpassed that level.