Lawmaker: Petition drives too hard, even that minimum wage push he opposes

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Although he’s against raising the minimum wage, one state lawmaker says folks who want the increase shouldn’t have to spend nearly a million dollars to put the issue on the ballot.

SIGN HERE: Petitioners with Nebraskans for Better Wages need 81,000 valid signatures to put a raise in the minimum wage on the November ballot

State Sen. John Murante (R-Gretna) tells Nebraska Watchdog the state’s petition laws are out of whack and come January he’ll once again be pushing plans to fix them.

When he tried earlier this year his proposed constitutional amendment died in committee. Here’s his latest 4-point plan making it easier to put issues before the voters:

  • Fewer valid signatures: the minimum wage drive needs nearly 81,000—7 percent of the state’s registered voters.
  • Permitting Nebraskans to sign petitions through the website that is being designed for online voter registration.
  • Permitting Nebraskans to sign petitions at the Secretary of State’s office, local county election offices and through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Permitting Nebraskans to mail signed petition forms to the Secretary of State’s office.

Sen. John Murante

Murante says when a proposal to up the minimum wage hit the Legislature he voted against it.

But following Nebraska Watchdog’s report that those favoring the move—Nebraskans for Better Wages—have raised at least $721,000 in order to hire petitioners and scour the state for signatures, the Gretna lawmaker had numbers on his side.

“That such a massive amount of money is necessary to be spent in order for the people of Nebraska to vote on an issue is disappointing,” Murante said. “The laws of Nebraska belong to the people and they should be allowed to amend laws as they see fit.”

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org.

Joe can be heard on Omaha’s KFAB radio every Monday at 7:40 a.m. and KHAS-AM in Hastings every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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