The Arkansas Supreme Court today issued a brief order denying oral arguments in the lawsuit filed by millionaire Jackson T. Stephens Jr. to get a proposed increase in the minimum wage removed from the ballot.
That means the case will be decided on arguments in briefs and the findings of a special master that supporters of the initiated act had met petition signature requirements. A key question remains whether the secretary of state properly extended a deadline for petitions from July 4, a state holiday, to July 7, the next regular business day.
The secretary of state’s office today filed its brief defending its certification of the proposal for the Nov. 4 ballot. It also defended extending a “cure” period for defects in petitions originally submitted. This is a key part of Stephens’ complaint. He contends defects — such as in legitimacy of notary signatures — should have caused the petitions to fail the original review. He doesn’t argue that additional signatures submitted later were sufficient to qualify the measure for the ballot.
Stephens’ attorney argues that the special master, John Robbins, erred in saying petition signatures should not be held to be facially invalid because some of the notary signatures were not those of the notary. They shouldn’t be counted toward the initial total that qualified the petitioners for more time.