Nebraska voters may get a chance this November to vote on a measure to increase the state's minimum wage. Nebraskans for Better Wages, organizers of a petition initiative, say they turned in 134,899 signatures to the Secretary of State Office in an effort to put the measure on the ballot. If enough signatures are verified, the office says this would be the first petition initiative to be put to voters since 2008.
The initiative would see the minimum wage in Nebraska raised to $9 per hour by 2016.
"This citizen initiative will ensure a strong Nebraska economy that works for everyone. This is truly a historic victory for all hardworking Nebraskans and a historic victory for all Nebraskans who value an economy that works for everyone,” said state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, initiative sponsor.
In order for the measure to appear on the ballot, it must include seven percent of the 1,154,790 registered voters. That puts the threshold for the required number of valid signatures at 80,386.
Now the group must wait for election officials to process the petition.
Gale says county election officials have 40 days from the date they received the petitions to check that each signer is properly registered and that the address, signature and birth dates match up.
“Once we’ve heard from all 93 counties we’ll notify the petition organizer,” said Gale.
While the petitions are processed, the state Attorney General’s office will start drafting the language that will appear on the ballot in November.