FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Barton, Torres Law Group, PLLC 480-588-6120
Tempe, Ariz. – September 1, 2017 – The Torres Law Group, which represented the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 and 32 Democratic legislators in Maricopa County Superior Court, successfully defended local government authority to decide minimum wages and benefits for employees in their jurisdiction.
The Torres Law Group successfully argued that House Bill 2579 unconstitutionally violated the 1998 Voter Protection Act which requires three-fourths of the legislature to approve any modifications to voter-passed initiatives. The bill violated the Voter Protection Act because it attempted to amend a portion of the 2006 voter-passed initiative that raised the minimum wage in Arizona and gave local governments the authority to enact higher wages and benefits. The judge’s decision allows towns, cities and counties in Arizona to retain local control over establishing benefits, such as paid sick leave, so long as the benefit exceeds the minimum provided by state law.
This legal victory reinforces the voters’ Constitutional power at the ballot box by confirming Arizonans’ decade old desire to have wage and benefit issues decided by the governments closest to the employees to remain intact.
“Particularly in light of the Arizona Legislature’s ceaseless efforts to invade municipal decision making ,” TLG Partner Jim Barton said, “it is reassuring to know that in at least one area of law—minimum wages and benefits—the voters have successfully secured truly local control.”
TLG Associate Counsel Saman Golestan added, “this ruling is a victory for Arizona voters, working families, and our cities and towns. The Court’s message is clear: the legislature cannot ignore citizen initiatives.”
Torres Law Group, PLLC is a Tempe-based law firm promoting the interests of Arizona’s working families by advising political action committees, including several associated with building trades unions. The firm litigates a variety of matters, including Freedom of Information Act claims, election-law issues and labor disputes in state and federal court.