A proposal to increase Albuquerque's minimum wage is allowed on ballot in November, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in an emergency hearing on Wednesday.
The state's high court overturned an earlier Albuquerque District Court ruling by Judge Nan Nash, who said the ballot measure was invalid because it presents more than one issue to voters. The issues included:
-Whether to increase the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour
-An increase of cost-of-living adjustments
-Increasing tipped employees' share of the minimum wage
Tuesday, Sept. 11 was the deadline to put the measure on the ballot. Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver testified before the Court that there was still time to put the question on the ballot--but that time was of the essence. Partially based on her testimony, the Court ruled to put the measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.
"We are extremely pleased," says Chelsey Evans, state director for the New Mexico chapter of Working America.
Evans blames the challenge on special interests working to "prevent low wage workers [from] receiving a higher wage" and cites testimony from the New Mexico Restaurant Association. A NMRA member testified against putting the measure on the ballot at the hearing.
The Albuquerque City Council last week didn't make a decision whether the question should be put on the ballot. The Court ruled there wasn't enough time to send the measure back to City Council for it to set an election date.
-Joey Peters contributed part of this report from the New Mexico Supreme Court--an act that made SFR feel like grizzled wire reporters, until he returned to the office, rain-soaked, and played a Passion Pit song while updating the post.