On May 21, 2019, voters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will vote in the city’s primary election for mayor, city council, and other city offices. Voters will also decide on four amendments to the city’s charter. The four amendments were all referred to the ballot by the city council.
Question 1 would change gender-specific references, such as councilman, to gender-neutral references, such as councilmember, in the city’s charter.
Question 2 would add the Office of Immigrant Affairs to the city’s charter, making the office permanent rather than dependent on executive orders. In 2013, Mayor Michael Nutter created the office through an executive order, and his successor, Mayor James Kenney, also authorized the office.
Question 3 would call on the Pennsylvania State Legislature to increase the minimum wage to $15.00 by 2025 and request the legislature to allow Philadelphia to increase the city’s minimum wage. Since 2006, Pennsylvania has preempted local governments, such as cities, from setting their own minimum wage standards. Therefore, Philadelphia cannot increase its minimum wage for private employers unless the legislature repeals the preemption clause.
Question 4 would create a new class of law enforcement officers, called public safety enforcement officers (PSEO), to assist the police department in regulating traffic and enforcing code provisions. PSEO would not have the authority to carry firearms or to detain or arrest any person.