OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – The Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear arguments at the end of this month on whether State Question 832 (SQ 832), a ballot initiative that seeks to raise the minimum wage, should be stricken or allowed to go before voters in the upcoming November election.
A full panel of justices will preside over the issue on Jan. 31. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m.
SQ 832 seeks to amend the Oklahoma Minimum Wage Act and increase the minimum wage. The amendment, if approved, would require employers to pay employees at least $9 per hour beginning in 2025, $10.50 per hour beginning 2026, $12 per hour beginning in 2027, $13.50 per hour beginning in 2028 and $15 per hour beginning in 2029.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation and The State Chamber of Oklahoma jointly filed a formal protest in the the Supreme Court challenging the legality of SQ 832 in November.
The joint legal challenge argues that SQ 832 is unconstitutional under Oklahoma law because it unlawfully delegates the legislature’s power to federal administrative officials.
“Oklahoma Farm Bureau members understand the importance of fair compensation for honest work as farmers and ranchers rely on dependable, hardworking individuals to ensure their agricultural operations run smoothly and efficiently,” said Steve Thompson, the Farm Bureau’s vice president of public policy. “State Question 832 seeks to raise minimum compensation through national economic projections that are unrepresentative of Oklahoma’s economy, and these burdensome government mandates will only intensify the inflationary pressures Oklahomans are already facing.”
The Supreme Court will decide whether the arguments in the Farm Bureau and State Chamber’s joint brief are enough to deem SQ 832 unconstitutional.
State Attorney General Gentner Drummond also filed a brief with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, challenging SQ 832’s constitutionality.
“When an initiative petition manifests plain constitutional infirmities, allowing the petition to proceed to a state-wide election would disserve the proponents, protestants, and the people of Oklahoma,” Drummond wrote in the brief.
Chad Warmington, president and CEO of The State Chamber, issued a statement fully supporting Drummond’s opposition to the ballot initiative.
“State Question 832 is a job-killer that would shutter main-street businesses and deny economic opportunity for the lowest earners through reduced hours and benefits,” Warmington said. “SQ 832 is a carbon copy of San Francisco’s disastrous labor policies that will cede Oklahoman’s decisions to the unelected US Department of Labor. It is unconstitutional and we are thrilled to see Attorney General Drummond join the business community in this fight.”