Backers of $15 minimum wage ballot measure file lawsuit

A group pushing for a Minneapolis charter amendment establishing a new $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court Monday seeking a judicial order requiring the city to put the measure on the ballot this fall.

The City Council voted Friday to block the proposed charter amendment from the ballot, referencing an advisory legal opinion from City Attorney Susan Segal arguing the city’s charter doesn’t allow for ordinances via citizen petitions.

Instead, the Council is moving ahead with crafting an ordinance establishing a higher Minneapolis wage that the Council is expected to vote on in 2017.

The complaint filed Monday argued that the proposed charter amendment is “proper in scope and in no way conflicts with Minnesota law” and the city “had an obligation to refer the measure to the electorate.”

“The Minneapolis workers and voters affected by this decision will ask the courts to recognize that there is no basis for the city’s position, which flies in the face of Minnesota Supreme Court case law, past practice in Minneapolis and other cities, and even the statements of the chair of Minneapolis’ Charter Commission,” said attorney Bruce Nestor, in a prepared statement.

Aug. 26 is the deadline for the city to finalize the November ballot.