Low-wage workers and campaigners across Nebraska celebrated Secretary of State Bob Evnen’s Tuesday announcement that a measure to raise the hourly minimum wage from $9 to $15 by 2026 will be on the ballot in November.
The campaign for the minimum wage ballot measure turned in 97,245 verified signatures and hit the 5% threshold in 44 counties—or over 10,000 signatures and six countries more than the numbers required by the state constitution, Evnen revealed.
“Working Nebraskans are long overdue for a livable wage. We’re excited to share this milestone with Raise the Wage Nebraska and everyone involved in this campaign,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, a group that backs progressive ballot measures.
“We have repeatedly seen how ballot measures are an essential tool for voters to create urgently needed change when Washington fails to act,” Hall added. “Time and time again, when commonsense policies to ensure basic economic fairness are placed on the ballot, voters choose progress.”
Raise the Wage Nebraska—a coalition of over two dozen groups and a few local lawmakers—welcomed the development on Twitter, declaring that “60,000 Nebraskans are working full-time jobs at minimum wage” and “it’s time to make sure they’re paid fairly.”
“This is great news for Nebraska workers and families,” Nancy Williams, president and CEO of coalition member No More Empty Pots, told WOWT. “One in five workers who will benefit is a parent supporting children and trying to make ends meet. The reality is that the cost of groceries, housing, and basics have gone up for years, and the minimum wage hasn’t kept up.”
As WOWT detailed:
The first increase would be in January 2023 to $10.50 per hour. Minimum wage workers would see their biweekly pay rise from roughly $720 to $840—an increase of $3,120 per year.
Further increases would happen annually until 2026 when the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour or $31,200 annually.
While celebrating the minimum wage progress, the ACLU of Nebraska, another coalition member, highlighted that a voter identification constitutional amendment will also be on the ballot for this year’s general election.
“We will keep reminding Nebraskans that voter ID is voter suppression,” the group tweeted. “Make sure your voice is heard this election and vote like your rights depend on it.”
According to Evnen, the voter ID amendment effort submitted 136,458 valid signatures and hit the 5% threshold in 76 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.
“For tens of thousands of Nebraska voters, voter ID would be a hindrance and impediment to casting their ballot,” warned the group Civic Nebraska. “This is a hasty constitutional rewrite to extinguish voter protections and reduce the ability and opportunity to vote.”
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