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SeaTac Minimum Wage Initiative Headed to November Ballot

An initiative to raise the minimum wage in the City of SeaTac will appear on the November ballot. A ruling Friday from a state appeals court cleared the path for the measure to move forward.

SeaTac’s Prop 1 initiative aims to set a minimum wage at $15 an hour for many workers at and around the airport, like baggage handlers and hotel staff.

On Friday, State Appeals Court Judge Stephen Dwyer had some pointed words about a lawsuit related to this initiative. "What's is up with that goofy ordinance," he asked, referring to a law that led to the invalidation of some petition signatures. 

SeaTac’s City Attorney Mary Bartolo defended her city’s rules. “I can see why one might say that but I don’t think it’s a goofy ordinance at all. I think the intent behind the ordinance is a good one.”

Under the ordinance, for the first time ever, the City of SeaTac convened a special review board to validate signatures. That board includes the police chief, mayor and city administrator. They removed 201 signatures, even though King County Elections had already validated them.

Bartolo says the board only became involved because initiative opponents challenged the signatures. Opponents include Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association.

Appeals are still possible in this case, but the measure is headed to the ballot.

If voters approve it, this $15 dollar minimum wage in SeaTac would be the among the highest in the country.

Year started with KUOW: 2006