Council hearing gets heated on $15 Minneapolis minimum wage

Published 10:08 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis City Council hearing grew heated Wednesday over a proposal to give the city a $15-an-hour minimum wage, which would be one of the highest in the country.

Supporters of the proposed charter amendment booed council members who spoke against a citywide vote, the Star Tribune reported. Supporters of the 15 Now campaign chanted, “Let the people vote.”

While she said she supports the 15 Now campaign, council member Elizabeth Glidden was booed as she said she didn’t think it was legal for city voters to set the minimum wage.

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City Attorney Susan Segal has recommended the City Council reject putting the issue on the November ballot. Segal has said the proposal is an ordinance disguised as a charter amendment.

Unlike what is allowed in some other Minnesota cities, Segal said at the meeting, the Minneapolis charter “simply does not provide for citizen petitions for legislation.”

“The question of if the council favors this ordinance or not is completely irrelevant,” Segal said.

But council member Cam Gordon disagrees with the legal opinion.

“I can’t wrap my head around the idea that this isn’t an appropriate thing for the ballot,” Gordon said.

A majority of council members agreed with Segal’s opinion. A final vote on whether to put the issue on the ballot will take place at Friday’s council meeting.

A handful of cities including Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco have passed ordinances to raise the minimum wage to $15 over the next few years.

Minnesota’s minimum hourly wage increased on Monday to $9.50, the final increase in a trio of hikes the Legislature passed in 2014.