Oklahoma Supreme Court Weighs Future Of Vote To Raise State Minimum Wage

The Oklahoma Supreme Court will decide on Wednesday if State Question 832, which would more than double the state’s minimum wage, will be allowed to go to a vote.

Wednesday, January 31st 2024, 8:40 am



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The Oklahoma State Supreme Court is hearing arguments Wednesday morning over whether Oklahomans will be able to vote on raising the minimum wage.

State Question 832, if allowed to go to a vote, would more than double the state’s minimum wage.

Currently, the minimum wage in Oklahoma is set at $7.25 an hour, but SQ832 could raise that to $15 by 2029. After that, the wage would be based on federal cost of living statistics.

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the State Chamber of Commerce are pushing back on the issue, with both saying tying future Oklahoma minimum wages to federal statistics is unconstitutional. 

The two groups said the federal cost of living rate considers places like New York and San Francisco, where things simply cost a lot more.

Ben Lepak, executive director of the State Chamber of Research, said raising the wage would make it harder for businesses to hire workers.

“Businesses are desperate for employees,” Lepak said. “They can't find enough people to fill the jobs that they have, and so they're already responding by significantly raising wages.”

However, those who support raising the minimum wage say the measure is meant to help those who are already struggling in the state.

“Oklahoma ranks 47th in the country in low-wage workers,” Raise the Wage spokesperson Amber England said. “There's about 170,000 Oklahomans that are working below poverty level wages.” 

Justices will hear the arguments beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Each side has 30 minutes for arguments and justices will be able to ask questions to the attorneys representing them.

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