Florida $15 Minimum Wage Initiative to appear on 2020 ballot

Florida voters will decide in 2020 whether to raise the state’s minimum wage, which is currently $8.46 per hour. The measure, which will appear on the 2020 ballot as Amendment 2, would increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour on September 30, 2021, and raise the wage by $1 per year until reaching $15 per hour on September 30, 2026. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted each year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
To qualify a citizen initiative for the 2020 ballot in Florida, 766,200 valid signatures are required. In July of 2019, initiative sponsor John Morgan reported having collected more than 1 million signatures for Amendment 2. As of November 11, 2019, the Florida Division of Elections showed that proponents had submitted 768,478 valid signatures and met the state’s distribution requirement, which requires that signatures equaling at least 8% of the district-wide vote in the last presidential election be collected from at least half (14) of the state’s 27 congressional districts.
Excluding D.C., which has a minimum wage of $14.00 per hour, the average state minimum wage is around $8.68 in 2019. The highest statewide minimum wages based on state law are $12.00 in California, Massachusetts, and Washington. In metropolitan Portland, Oregon, the minimum wage is $12.50. In New York City, the minimum wage is $15.00 for certain employers. The lowest minimum wages based on state law are $5.15 in Georgia and Wyoming, which is lower than the federal government’s requirement (therefore, the federal government’s requirement supersedes state law for most types of employees).
Voters throughout the country have decided 27 statewide ballot measures concerning the minimum wage since 1988, all but one of which reached the ballot through initiative signature petitions. The last time voters rejected a minimum wage increase at the ballot was in Missouri and Montana in 1996. The Missouri measure (rejected by a vote of 71% to 29%) would have required all employers to pay employees an hourly minimum wage of $6.25, with a $0.15 annual increase. The Montana measure (rejected by a vote of 56% to 44%) would have re-established a state minimum wage that would have gradually increased from $4.25 an hour to $6.25 an hour by the year 2000.
Also on Florida’s 2020 ballot is Amendment 1, which would amend the Florida Constitution to state that only a citizen (rather than every citizen) of the U.S. can vote in Florida.
From 1996 to 2018, an average of between seven and eight measures appeared on the ballot during even-numbered years in Florida. Of all 91 measures on the ballot between 1996 and 2018, 76% were approved and 24% were defeated.