This November, Arkansas voters will decide whether to increase the state’s hourly minimum wage from its current $8.50 to $11 by 2021. Only California and Massachusetts currently have minimum wages that high, and only Washington state and the District of Columbia have higher minimum wages.
The measure is popular—a state poll shows 60 percent of voters are in favor of the idea. It’s nevertheless struggled to survive: The state’s attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, at first tried to keep the initiative from appearing on the ballot because of what she called imprecise language, and now it’s being challenged by the state’s Chamber of Commerce. But if it survives the court challenge, it will likely pass.
The Fairness Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that helped get the Arkansas measure to the ballot, is sponsoring 11 progressive, popular measures around the country, five in states that have recently been reliably Republican. These include another minimum-wage increase in Missouri, measures to establish paid sick leave in Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, and Medicaid expansion in Idaho.
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