New Jersey Introduces Bill to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 per Hour by Constitutional Amendment
On February 11, 2016, New Jersey State Senate President Steven Sweeney, D-Gloucester, formally introduced legislation for a ballot referendum that would authorize an amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.
Senator Sweeney was joined by State Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, and 17 additional co-sponsors in introducing the legislation. The bill, SCR1500, would amend the State Constitution to set the minimum wage rate at $9.00 per hour starting in 2018. The rate would then rise by one dollar each year until it reaches $15.00 in 2024. In 2025 and thereafter, the minimum wage would continue to increase in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The state’s current minimum wage rate is $8.38 per hour. To reach voters in the general election, the proposal will require majority votes in both houses of the Legislature in consecutive years, or, in the alternative, three-fifths majority votes in a single year.
Also on the table is Bill A15, introduced on February 8, 2016 by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson, that would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour in the next calendar year, but not through a constitutional amendment. (See our February 4, 2016 blog post).