Signatures submitted for minimum wage measure one day before deadline in Nebraska

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July 3, 2014

By Ryan Byrne

Recoiling from a tight loss over minimum wage legislation in the Nebraska Senate, Sen. Jeremy Nordquist (NP-7) might have a chance to bring his legislation to the ballot box.[1] Approved for circulation on May 6, 2014, Sen. Nordquist and Nebraskans for Better Wages had only two months to gather enough signatures for their Minimum Wage Increase Initiative.[2] Yet, on July 3, they bested all other initiative campaigns and submitted 134,899 signatures to the Office of the Nebraska Secretary of State. About 81,000 valid signatures are the required minimum.[3] The official deadline for signature submissions is July 4, 2014. Nebraskans for Better Wages, unlike the other initiative campaigns, received substantial financial backing from Richard Holland, a donor to the Democratic Party.[4] Holland's $350,000 donation easily covered the $250,000 spent by Nebraskans for Better Wages to hire FieldWorks, a campaign consultant business specializing in ballot initiatives.[5] The initiative, with voter approval, would incrementally increase the state's hourly minimum wage to $9 by January 1, 2016.[6] There is no organized opposition to the ballot measure yet, but the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and the Platte Institute have stated their opposition.[7]

Other initiative campaigns aren't looking as strong based on media reports or the lack thereof. My Rights Nebraska, an organization supporting the Prohibit Federal Firearms Restrictions Initiative and the Voter ID Amendment, acknowledged that they are unlikely to have gathered enough signatures.[8][9] Other proposed measures, such as the Petition Signature Requirement Amendment and the Legislative Session Days Amendment, have received little to no media attention since their petitions were approved for circulation in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

A fuller picture will be made available following the secretary of state's official count.

See also