Supreme Court denies move to remove $15 minimum wage measure from ballot

by Jack Mayne

On Tuesday afternoon the Washington State Supreme Court denied expedited discretionary review in an attempt by SeaTac businesses to remove the $15 per hour minimum wage bill from the November election ballot.

The court ruled the decision was “without prejudice” to the businesses so they may seek a high court review after the Appeals Court files its decision issued last Friday that Initiative 1 be reinstated on the ballot. The Appeals Court did not file the details of its decision, saying it would do so later.

The same group of plaintiffs who lost the fight to keep the so-called “Good Jobs” initiative off the November ballot asked the State Supreme Court to grant the expedited hearing so they could present evidence that the measure should be kept off the ballot because there is an error and that later it “will be impossible to correct that error.”

The review request was filed Monday by BF Foods, Filo Foods, Alaska Airlines, and the Washington Restaurant Association. They request the court rule by Thursday because the impending printing of election pamphlets and if not done by then, it would be impossible to correct the error. It appears the business group can go back to the Supreme Court if the Appeals Court files its written decision in time.

The review request to the state’s top court filed on Monday recalls that a King County Superior Court judge had issued an order prohibiting the City of SeaTac from putting the measure on the ballot because it lacked sufficient valid signatures.

Last Friday, the state Court of Appeals reversed the appeal Judge Andrea Darvas, and ordered the measure onto the ballot.

The companies and the Restaurant Association apparently held the holding “controlling state statute and municipal ordinance unconstitutional, without as yet providing any explanation of its decision.” The appeals court said its written full decision would be issued later.

The appellants are arguing that the Supreme Court should order that Initiative 1 should not go onto the ballot in order “to correct substantial error and because matters of substantial public importance and concern are at issue in this case regarding the validity of signatures on an initiative petition.”

The businesses and the association claim the “writs issued by Judge Darvas are still binding (they were never stayed), the city and county face conflicting decisions, and if the city is allowed to include the initiative when ballots are printed and mailed, it will be impossible to correct that error before the election.”

Of course the Yes! For SeaTac group supporting the initiative, which waged the battle to get the measure on the ballot, opposes the businesses’ move to the high court.

Group spokeswoman Heather Weiner says the proposition “is a common sense law that helps hard working employees at the airport and big hotels get a few days of paid sick leave, livable wages, full-time jobs they can count on to make ends meet and the tips they are owed.”
Small businesses in the city are exempted.

“The airlines’ executives must realize what we already know (that) SeaTac voters are ready to approve Proposition 1 and get a boost for SeaTac’s local economy instead of subsidizing big airline and hotel CEO bonuses through local food banks and public assistance.”

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