(CW44 News At 10) – Amendment 2 has passed in Florida which will increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the course of the next few years. Some Floridians have been celebrating the victory while others are more apprehensive.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we did it. Man… can’t believe we did it. Amendment two has passed,” exclaimed Alex Harris, a fast food employee and advocate for Fight for $15.
Minimum wage workers across Florida are celebrating as amendment two on the ballot passed. Amendment two will raise the minimum wage from $8.56 to $15 and hour overtime.
“This just shows the power of workers coming together, united in voting,” said Harris.
But one group who opposed the amendment says it’s a long road ahead for Florida businesses.
“Yeah look, we’re obviously disappointed in the fact that this past but we want to make sure like, look the voters will has to be heard. It’s going to make it tougher for us to try to help small businesses during this time and it’s also going to require us to work harder to cut regulatory reform, cut taxes, try to do stuff to spur economic growth,” said Skylar Zander, State Director, Americans for Prosperity – FL.
Zander says there’s no doubt that this amendment passing is going to hurt small business owners in the short term.
“Professors at Florida State University and others have shown through their research that it is going to disenfranchise not only workers, but it’s also going to hurt small businesses,” said Zander.
And based on their own research, the group says they have reason to believe it is a further barrier to spurring economic development long term for Florida.
“It’s going to require more work from the legislature, it’s going to require more work from people who want to help small businesses in order for us to come out of this with actually creating jobs,” said Zander “If you’re a bartender who is a tipped wage worker and you’re not making minimum wage right now, you’re going to be put on minimum wage… and they’ll be kept at that instead of allowing them to be able to earn their money through service.”
But to reverse a constitutional amendment is not only difficult, it’s also costly. But there are two options.
First, to delete the language around the amendment or get legislature to implement language around the amendment that could soften the blow to small businesses.
Or, option two..
“As you saw, 60.8% of voters supported this amendment. It is incredibly difficult to run a ballot initiative measure. It’s going to become more costly in the future, you have to collect an absorbent amount of petitions in order to get it on the ballot. You have to have the Supreme Court say that it’s not the deceiving language, and then you have to actually run the campaign to actually have it get 60% support,” said Zander.
And while advocacy groups for that amendment, like Fight for $15 celebrate its passing, they say they’re not done yet either.
“With that being said, the fight ain’t over. No. The fight ain’t over. We’re going to continue to fight on the federal level until every single essential worker reaches that living wage,” said Harris.
Keep in mind, the amendment has passed but is not official until the Secretary of State certifies it. Once it has been deemed official, that’s when it will go into effect.
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