BREAKING NEWS: Flagstaff Victorious in the Minimum Wage Lawsuit against the State of Arizona
After Press Conference: Joe Bader, (310) 613-7162
Flagstaff Victorious in the Minimum Wage Lawsuit against the State of Arizona
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FLAGSTAFF – On Monday, June 29, 2015 the Attorney General on behalf of the State of Arizona reached an agreement with the plaintiff Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition in its lawsuit against the state. The parties filed a stipulated judgment and are waiting for a signature by the judge in the case.
The stipulated judgment declares that A.R.S. § 23-204, which was passed by the Arizona legislature in 2013, and prohibits counties, cities and towns from regulating employee compensation and benefits, violates the Voter Protection Act. In 2006, Arizona voters passed Proposition 202, which gave local governments the ability to regulate compensation and benefits, and this judgment makes clear that the state legislature cannot blatantly ignore the will of the people.
After successfully representing same-sex couples in their marriage equality lawsuit last year, attorneys Shawn Aiken and Mik Jordahl partnered again to support the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition in their legal action against the State. Aiken said, “The people have prevailed once again. This was a clear case of our state legislature overstepping its authority and we’re so pleased that Arizona voters still have the final word.” Jordahl added, "Arizona voters understood that local economic conditions such as Flagstaff's extremely high cost of living may require consideration of higher local minimum wages. The legislature had no right to shut down that conversation."
Eva Putzova, chair of the Coalition and Flagstaff City Councilmember and Celia Barotz, Flagstaff Vice-Mayor, agree that this judgment clarifies once and for all that local communities, do in fact, have the legal authority to decide what minimum wages adequately reflect their local economic conditions.
“With the victory in this lawsuit, we are now ready to take the next step and engage in a community conversation in Flagstaff about local wages. The Coalition believes it is time to help not only the thousands of working people who live in poverty but also thousands of children who often go hungry because their families can barely make ends meet. Positive outcomes of lifting working people from poverty go beyond economic security; they include better health outcomes and less domestic violence among others,” said Joe Bader, representing the Coalition.
"If I can do it as a small business owner, then the larger companies can, too. It's about doing what's right," responded Beth Heenan, owner of Village Baker in Flagstaff to the question if a higher minimum wage would be problematic for her business operation.
At 11 am, June 30, the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition will hold a press conference on the Coconino County Courthouse lawn at the corner of Birch and San Francisco Streets in Flagstaff. Follow Flagstaff’s conversation about raising the minimum wage at facebook.com/MovingFlagstaffForward.
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