Minimum Wage: The Way Forward in the States is the first event of the American Progress Action Fund in conjunction with the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center?s Measuring Progress Series. Efforts to raise the federal minimum wage have been blocked since the last increase in 1996. Since then, eighteen states have taken the matter in their own hands and moved to raise their minimum wage above the federal level. How have these state-level increases of the minimum wage affected families and communities? What is the impact of a minimum wage increase on small businesses? Does the existence of a minimum wage initiative on the ballot impact voter turnout?
As we turn to the 2006 election season, please join us for this important discussion on the future of minimum wage battles amidst the growing trend toward state ballot initiatives and referenda.
About the Measuring Progress Series:
Every branch of the federal government has tilted toward the right in recent years, leading progressives to look for alternative ways to enact policy changes. State ballot initiatives have become one of the most powerful tools in the national political and policy toolkit. Past elections have demonstrated that voters can be mobilized to pass ballot initiatives or legislative referenda to increase the minimum wage, require renewable energy, and improve health services, even when the results do not track with votes for national campaigns.
Conservatives continue to recognize the power of the initiative and referendum process, with national sponsors pushing TABOR-style expenditure limits, stringent public education requirements, medical malpractice damage caps, and flashpoint issues such as restrictions on abortion, gay rights, and immigration to the forefront of their electoral strategy.
Progressives have a genuine opportunity in 2006 to further develop their own winning initiative strategy. The Measuring Progress Series will bring leading voices on state policy and politics together to discuss the high-profile issues that will frame many 2006 campaigns across the nation. At a time when lawmaking by initiative and referendum is an increasingly popular tactic with both the right and the left, the range of policies and electoral outcomes potentially affected by these processes deserve a closer look.