'Blatantly Unconstitutional:' Oklahoma Supreme Court Weighs Future Of Vote To Raise Minimum Wage

The Oklahoma Supreme Court is set to decide whether Oklahomans will be able to vote on raising the minimum wage. Wednesday's hearing comes after pushback from the State Chamber and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, both saying parts of the proposal are unconstitutional. State Question 832, if allowed to go to a vote, would raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2029.

Wednesday, January 31st 2024, 6:31 pm

By: News 9, Cameron Joiner


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The Oklahoma Supreme Court is set to decide whether Oklahomans will be able to vote on raising the minimum wage. Wednesday's hearing comes after pushback from the State Chamber and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, both saying parts of the proposal are unconstitutional.

State Question 832, if allowed to go to a vote, would raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2029.

"It is time to let the people decide this issue for themselves," Raise the Wage Spokesperson Amber England said. "We're on the side of working families and we're going to continue to fight to make sure they see a pay raise."

"It's just an unnecessary solution in search of a problem that doesn't exist in Oklahoma," State Chamber President and CEO Chad Warmington said.

The minimum wage has been set at $7.25 an hour since 2008. Raise the Wage Oklahoma filed a proposal to more than double that by 2029. After that, the proposal says the wage would be determined by federal cost of living statistics.

"It's blatantly unconstitutional," Warmington said.

The State Chamber challenged the petition because they want to keep wages a state issue.

"Tying a minimum wage to a federally produced cpi index that's taking in inflation from the coasts of California and New York is not representative of what the actual wage is in Oklahoma," Warmington said.

On top of this, he said Oklahoma businesses are already paying far above $7.25, but still struggling to find workers. He said raising the wage to $15 may, in turn, hurt the people it's intended to help: part-time and first-time workers.

"There are small businesses in Oklahoma that will not be able to afford workers at that. Those jobs go away,” he said.

"This is a politically motivated challenge and an attempt to just block Oklahoma voters from deciding this at the ballot box," England said, adding that Raise the Wage stands firm on their proposal. "Oklahoma voters want an opportunity to vote on this, they're tired of the fearmongering. They're ready to decide this issue."

Ultimately, whether this petition goes to voters lies with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Stay with News 9 for that decision as soon as it's handed down.

Related Article: Oklahoma Supreme Court Weighs Future Of Vote To Raise State Minimum Wage

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