Florida’s $15 minimum wage measure poised to pass

The Center Square – If a thin margin holds, Florida voters Tuesday were poised to narrowly approve a constitutional amendment requiring the state’s minimum wage to increase to $10 an hour next September and to $15 an hour by 2026.

According to the Florida Division of Elections (FDOE), with 10,445,758 votes counted near midnight Tuesday, 6.4 million Floridians had approved Amendment 2, the most controversial of the six ballot measures on the ballot.

The Fight For Fifteen Amendment 2 had a 61.3% majority, holding just above the 60% margin required to adopt a constitutional amendment.

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Amendment 2 was one of four proposed constitutional amendments approved Tuesday. Florida voters shot down two others, one calling for open primaries and another asking voters to approve constitutional amendments twice to be enacted.

Florida For A Fair Wage’s Amendment 2 was led by John Morgan, a prominent Orlando trial attorney who also spearheaded the 2016 measure that legalized medical marijuana. His Morgan & Morgan firm and SEIU Florida labor union have contributed nearly all the $5.63 million in contributions to support the measure.

It calls for raising the state’s minimum wage from $8.46 an hour to $10 an hour in September 2021, with $1-an-hour increases annually until it reaches $15 an hour on Sept. 30, 2026.

Amendment 2 was opposed aggressively by Save Florida Jobs, created by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), the Florida Chamber of Commerce and virtually all state business groups.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday joined the Republican chorus opposing Amendment 2, claiming “now is not the time” to raise the state’s minimum wage.

“Ballot Amendment 2 would close small businesses, kill jobs and reduce wages. We need to bring our economy back. Vote ‘no’ on Ballot Amendment 2,” DeSantis said.

The two failed proposed ballot measures – Amendments 3 and 4 – along with Amendment 2, drew the most controversy during the campaign. Neither fared well in polls.

Amendment 3 asked voters to overhaul the state’s primary election system for governor, cabinet and legislative races by going to a top-two runoff system.

Voters – including the state’s nearly 4 million unaffiliated registered voters – could cast ballots in primary elections regardless of party affiliation.

With 10,375,136 votes counted and reported by the FDOE at 9:50 p.m., 5,767,899 Floridians had voted for the open primary measure, nearly 57% of the tally but short of the 60% needed.

Amendment 3 was sponsored by All Voters Vote (AVV), primarily funded by billionaire south Florida health care executive Mike Fernandez, who contributed nearly $6.8 million of the $8.533 million proponents raised.

Amendment 3 was opposed by political parties, advocacy groups and the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, which claimed it would undermine the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act and Florida’s 2010 Fair Districts Amendment.

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