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Part of Arizona’s Proposition 206 could soon head back to voters

In this June 2, 2014 photo, Wendy Harrison, a waitress at the icon Grill in Seattle, picks up a food order from the kitchen as she works during lunchtime. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

PHOENIX — A voter-approved bill that would raise the minimum wage in Arizona and require employers to pay sick time to employees has met opposition from state legislators.

Voters initially approved Proposition 206 by an 18 percent margin back in 2016.

The proposition would have raised the hourly minimum wage from $8.05 to $12 by 2020 by raising the base wage to $10 initially before increasing every year until 2020.

It also would have allowed workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked and would have barred employers from retaliating against employees for using their paid sick leave. Employers who would discipline an employee within 90 days of using paid sick leave would have been presumed guilty of retaliation.

But HCR 2028, introduced by Arizona House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, would send the retaliation provision back to voters for them to decide whether or not that presumption should be kept.

The legislation passed through a Senate committee on Monday, but a local non-profit organization was fighting to halt the progress of the bill.

Alejandra Gomez, a spokeswoman with Living United for Change in Arizona, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the bill demonstrates that legislators “don’t care about the will of the voters.”

“Legislators know that eliminating this provision would eliminate workers’ protections,” Gomez said, adding that sending the provision back to the voters is a waste of taxpayer money.

Gomez also claimed that lawmakers could not articulate a clear argument to say that eliminating the provision would not strip workers of their rights.

Gomez said the organization will continue to fight the bill’s progress as it moves into the rules committee, caucus and to the Senate floor for a vote.

“It’s important to follow the will of the voters,” she said.

KTAR News’ Ali Vetnar contributed to this report. 

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