COLUMBUS, Ohio — A proposed Ohio constitutional amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage to $13 per hour cleared two initial hurdles on Monday.
Attorney General Dave Yost announced that he has certified proposed ballot summary language – a succinct explanation of the proposal provided to voters asked to sign a petition supporting the measure – submitted by organized-labor groups. Elections officials have also certified an initial batch of 1,000 signatures collected from registered voters favoring the referendum.
The next step is for the Ohio Ballot Board, a committee chaired by Secretary of State Frank LaRose, to determine within the next 10 days whether the proposal contains only one issue. If they do, backers of the “Raise the Wage Ohio Amendment” will then have until July 1 to collect the 442,958 voter signatures needed to place the measure on the November 2020 general election ballot.
The proposed amendment would raise Ohio’s minimum wage, currently $8.70 per hour for non-tipped employees, to $9.60 per hour starting in 2021. The minimum wage would then continue rising incrementally each year after that until it hits $13 an hour in 2025. After that, the minimum wage would increase based on inflation.
The proposal comes from two of Ohio’s most progressive labor unions — the Service Employees International Union District 1199, whose members include low-paid service workers, and the Ohio Education Association, which represents teachers.
Anthony Caldwell, an SEIU 1199 spokesman, said he’s “absolutely” confident that the unions, with their thousands of members around the state, can gather the needed signatures by July.
“Working people in the state of Ohio are tired of having wages that are stuck in ancient history,” Caldwell said.
Business groups are all but certain to oppose adjusting the state’s minimum wage, which was last raised through a statewide referendum in 2006.