OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Office will be in Kittitas County Superior Court today defending a voter-approved initiative raising the state’s minimum wage and ensuring paid sick leave for workers.
“The people of Washington were clear: They want to increase compensation for workers,” Ferguson said. “My office will defend the will of the voters at every level.”
Voters approved Initiative 1433 in the November 2016 election with 57.4 percent of the vote. The initiative gradually increases the state’s minimum wage, and provides a paid sick leave requirement for workers.
A challenge was filed in Kittitas County by individuals and organizations required to pay the increased minimum wage rate or provide paid sick leave. The challenge claims that because the initiative increases both monetary and leave compensation for workers, it violates state law requiring initiatives to only cover one subject.
The state’s position is that the initiative relates to a single subject: employee compensation. In a similar case, the Washington State Supreme Court held that the City of SeaTac’s local initiative containing a minimum wage increase and a paid sick leave requirement did not violate the single subject rule.
The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. in Kittitas County Superior Court before Judge Scott Sparks.
Deputy Solicitors General Rebecca Glasgow and Callie Castillo are handling the case, which is expected to eventually reach the state Supreme Court.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov