On February 11, 2016, New Jersey State Senate President Steven Sweeney, D-Gloucester, formally introduced legislation for a ballot referendum that would authorize an amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.

Senator Sweeney was joined by State Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, and 17 additional co-sponsors in introducing the legislation.  The bill, SCR1500, would amend the State Constitution to set the minimum wage rate at $9.00 per hour starting in 2018.  The rate would then rise by one dollar each year until it reaches $15.00 in 2024.  In 2025 and thereafter, the minimum wage would continue to increase in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The state’s current minimum wage rate is $8.38 per hour.  To reach voters in the general election, the proposal will require majority votes in both houses of the Legislature in consecutive years, or, in the alternative,  three-fifths majority votes in a single year.

Also on the table is Bill A15, introduced on February 8, 2016 by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson, that would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour in the next calendar year, but not through a constitutional amendment.  (See our February 4, 2016 blog post).

We will continue to monitor both proposed bills and share any developments.