Signature gatherers up against Jan. 17 deadline for state minimum wage petition

Signature gatherers for a petition to raise the minimum wage in Alaska have collected more than 32,000 signatures, according to petition sponsor Ed Flanagan.

“We’re in good shape and we’re going to make it,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan said petition organizers intend to collect at least 43,00 signatures by Jan. 17. The state Division of Elections requires 30,169 signatures to certify a ballot initiative, with those signatures coming from at least 7 percent of voters in at least 30 districts. Over 3,200 signatures were determined to be duplicates in a recent ballot initiative certified by the division, which is why petition organizers set such a high goal.

The petition calls for Alaska’s minimum wage to increase by $1 to $8.75 per hour on Jan. 1 2015, and then to $9.75 per hour one year later. The state’s minimum wage would then increase as the federal minimum wage increases, staying $1 ahead of the nation.

In November voters in New Jersey increased their minimum wage by $1 to $8.25, with future increases tied to inflation. Residents of SeaTac, a small city south of Seattle home to the Sea-Tac international airport, also voted to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for airport workers. Other states with minimum wage petitions include Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri and New Mexico. A ballot measure to raise South Dakota’s minimum wage and tie future increase to inflation is already on that state’s 2014 ballot.

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