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Voters in 4 States Elect to Raise Minimum Wage January 1, 2015

On November 6, 2014 by Schnader in Labor and Employment

By Scott J. Wenner

Initiatives and ballot measures to raise the minimum wage in four states were approved by voters in four states on Election Day. By wide margins voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota approved measures that will increase the minimum wage in those states beginning January 1.  The Alaska, Arkansas and Nebraska measures will hike the minimum wage in those states in two or three stages over consecutive years.  The South Dakota initiative is a single year hike, but it also doubles the tip credit in that state from $2.13 to $4.25 per hour.

In addition to direct voting in the above states on minimum wage increases, the Illinois legislature included a referendum measure on that state’s ballot asking Illinois voters whether they would support the legislature’s increasing the minimum wage in Illinois from $8.25 to $10.00 per hour by January 1, 2015.  The voters approved the proposed increase by a two-to-one margin in Tuesday’s vote.

At the municipal level, voters in San Francisco approved Proposition J, to increase the present $10.74 minimum wage, already the highest in California, to $15.00 per hour in four steps from May 1, 2015 to July 1, 2018.  At $15.00 per hour, which annualizes at around $31,000 per year, San Francisco’s minimum wage would equal Seattle’s as the nation’s highest.  Undaunted by that distinction, San Francisco voters approved Proposition J by more than a three-to-one margin according to election website Ballotpedia.

Minimum Wage Increases Approved by Voters on Election Day

Jurisdiction Effective Dates New Minimum Wage Current Minimum
Alaska 1/1/2015
Arkansas 1/1/2015
Nebraska 1/1/2015
South Dakota 1/1/2015 $8.50  $7.25
San Francisco 5/1/2015
(Not yet law)
1/1/2015 $10.00 $8.25

A comprehensive report on 2015 increases will appear on this blog next month.