A paid canvasser gathering signatures on petitions to expand casino gambling told me Saturday he expected soon to be also working on a petition drive to raise the minimum wage. That’s now confirmed.
David Couch, a Little Rock lawyer who submitted the proposal for the wage increase, confirms that supporters have been lined up to attempt to qualify the measure and he hopes to have it published by tomorrow and petitions cleared with the secretary of state to begin the work.
Also, the paid canvassers will be working to complete a drive begun more than a year ago to shorten term limits for Arkansas legislators, now at 16 years (and longer depending on luck of the draw for senators) to 10 years.
The minimum wage act — pushing the minimum from $8.50 an hour to $11 in stages by 2022, will require 67,887 signatures. (I wrote incorrectly that the wage topped out at $12, which was in one of the proposals rejected by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. She ultimately approved one that capped the wage at $11.)
The casino amendment — to authorize additional casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties along with existing racinos in West Memphis and Hot Springs — and the term limits amendment will take 84,859 signatures. They must be submitted by July 6.
Couch said nonprofit groups, not organized labor, will be helping the minimum wage drive, but won’t be revealed until the money is delivered and report filed.