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Arizona Supreme Court Rejects Minimum Wage Challenge

The Arizona Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the state’s minimum-wage increase Tuesday. The ruling from the high court’s seven justices was unanimous.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich said it was the right decision. “It shouldn’t be my job or the court’s job to pick and choose which policies they like or don’t like."

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and other business groups sued in December arguing Proposition 206 does not account for the constitutionally mandated requirement to pay for the state’s additional costs.

Attorney General Brnovich defended the ruling.

“If you had accepted the logic of the plaintiffs, the people who brought this lawsuit, there would never be another initiative passed ever again,” he said.

Brnovich said if the challenge had won, a precedent would have been set that any voter initiative could be labeled unconstitutional on the basis of any costs incurred by the state.

“What you don’t do is you don’t try to use the constitution, which is designed to protect people’s rights," Brnovich said. "You don’t try to use some obscure constitutional argument to undermine the will of the people."

Approximately 700,000 Arizonans got a raise from $8.05 to $10 an hour Jan 1, which will go to $12 an hour in 2020. 

Brnovich said he is very comfortable with the legal and moral argument made on the case - that nearly 60 percent of Arizonans voted for the minimum-wage increase.

News Business
Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.