Minimum wage group says it has enough signatures for ballot

July 7, 2022 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A campaign to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current $9 said Thursday that it has collected more than enough signatures to place the issue before voters in November.

Raise the Wage Nebraska said it gathered 160,000 raw signatures from all 93 Nebraska counties.

The measure would ratchet up the wage to $15 hourly by 2026. The first incremental increase would bump it to $10.50 an hour in January 2023.

At least 87,000 valid signatures from registered voters are required to qualify a measure for the general election ballot. Nebraska also requires petition campaigns to get signatures from at least 5% of the voters in 38 or more counties.

Raise the Wage Nebraska submitted the signatures to the secretary of state, which will return them to county election officials to verify that signatures are valid.

Campaign manager Kate Wolfe said the measure would raise wages for an estimated 150,000 workers.

It’s unclear whether business groups will actively fight the measure. Nebraska has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate and a severe worker shortage that has already forced most employers to increase wages.