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Opponents Of Minimum Wage Hike Ask Arizona Supreme Court To Block Referendum

Those opposed to requiring employers to pay their workers at least $12 an hour by 2020 asked the Arizona Supreme Court Wednesday to block a vote on the matter.

Last week Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joshua Rogers ruled that some circulators of the petition were legally unqualified. That would have voided more than 50,000 signatures they collected, leaving the plan without sufficient names.

But Rogers also ruled that the Arizona Restaurant Association did not file its challenge within five days as required by law. So the signatures remain in place.

On Wednesday attorneys for the restaurant group asked the high court to rule that the law means five business days, not counting weekends, which would make their challenge timely, and the signatures invalid.

The move drew an angry reaction from Suzanne Wilson, spokeswoman for the minimum wage campaign. "This is another unseemly tactic by the opposition to deny thousands of Arizonans the right to vote on raising the minimum wage and earn paid sick days," she said.

Wilson brushed aside questions about the petition circulators her group hired not following laws requiring them to register with the state and provide an Arizona address.

"The restaurant association did not challenge a single petitioner signer's qualification, or their right to sign the petition for that matter," she said. "Instead they used a new law to drop qualified voters' signatures and continue to use that tactic to disempower and silence the voters from having their say."

No date has been set for the justices to decide the issue.

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