Grantham disappointed his bill to cut minimum wages won’t go to court




    Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, has sponsored House Bill 2523, which would allow employers to pay many student workers the federal minimum wage instead of the much higher Arizona minimum wage. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

    The sponsor of a bill that aimed to reduce the minimum wage for young, part-time workers said he’s disappointed that the Senate effectively killed his legislation by requiring a three-fourths vote for its passage.

    House Bill 2523 sought to reduce the state’s minimum wage, which is $11 now and will rise to $12 in 2020, to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for anyone who is under 22 years of age and works no more than 20 hours a week.

    Legislative attorneys and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office concluded that, because voters approved a $12 minimum in 2016, the bill is subject to the Voter Protection Act. That act, also known as Proposition 105, requires a three-fourths vote in the Legislature to amend a voter-approved law. Any changes must also further the intent of the voters.

    In response to those legal opinions, the Senate Rules Committee on Monday amended the bill to include a clause stating that it must comply with the Voter Protection Act. Given that Democratic lawmakers are unanimously opposed to the bill, HB2523 is effectively dead.

    The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Travis Grantham, said other attorneys disagree. The Gilbert Republican is disappointed that HB2523 won’t get its day in court.

    “I don’t disagree that the attorneys’ opinions are valuable. It’s just that, in the legislative process, I feel that we should be able to advance legislation. And if something has to be heard in court, that’s really where that battle should play out,” Grantham said on Tuesday.

    Despite the several legal opinions on HB2523 and the Voter Protection Act, Grantham said he didn’t think it would be a waste of taxpayer money to defend the bill in court. He argued that the new minimum wage, which was enacted through Proposition 206 in 2016, makes it more difficult for young people to get part-time jobs. His bill, he said, would help alleviate that problem.

    “Oftentimes, you have to take that chance, take the risk and argue that out in the legal system to find out which side is right,” Grantham said. “We do a lot of things here that end up in court. They’re not all wastes. Some are good for the people.”

    Jeremy Duda
    Associate Editor Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”

    3 COMMENTS

    1. Ironic that a Gilbert Legislator would like to see lower wages,…considering the Gilbert has some of the high per household income in the state! Nice guy. Arizona’s wages are already some of the lowest in the country. The funding for schools is also low,.. and the unemployment compensation is THEE lowest. A dumpy apartment goes for around $1500 a month. People under 22 still need to survive.

    2. The arrogance here is breathtaking. But not unusual from our Republican legislators.

      Grantham is told multiple times that his bill is unconstitutional. He ignores them.

      And then he has the cojones to say, “I don’t disagree that the attorneys’ opinions are valuable. It’s just that, in the legislative process, I feel that we should be able to advance legislation. And if something has to be heard in court, that’s really where that battle should play out.”

      Well, sure he doesn’t. It’s not his money that would be wasted on a silly bill that would lose in court. We taxpayers would foot the costs for his folly.

      Bet he’d sing a different tune if he had to pay the court costs and attorney fees when his ridiculous bill was overturned by courts.

    3. Grantham said “We do a lot of things here that end up in court. They’re not all wastes. Some are good for the people.”. From the guy who originally though it would be “good for the people” to pay college students and young people with families to support over $4 LESS per hour than the states minimum wage. LOL, and what could be more “good for the people” than ignoring their will at the ballot box?

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