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Tuesday, December 07, 2021
Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker was the target of a lawsuit brought by advocacy group Wisconsin Jobs Now that alleged his administration needed to do more to raise the state’s minimum wage. 

Judge dismisses attempt to raise state minimum wage

A Dane County judge dismissed Tuesday a 2014 lawsuit against Gov. Scott Walker’s administration that attempted to raise the state’s minimum wage.

The lawsuit, brought by liberal labor group Wisconsin Jobs Now, alleged the state was “failing to secure reasonable comfort, reasonable physical well-being, decency, and moral well being,” according to the original petition.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford said the case is moot after the state Legislature voted to remove the living wage, the income necessary to maintain a normal standard of living, as part of the state budget.  

"Under these circumstances, even if the Court were to determine that Petitioner’s Petition had merit, there is no longer any statutory mechanism under which the Court could provide any relief," Lanford wrote in her decision.

Plaintiffs included individuals directly affected by the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage and the liberal labor group. The petition aimed to confront Walker on the issue in the 2014 election.

At the time, Wisconsin’s state law declared the minimum wage can not be lower than the living wage, which is $10.13 an hour.

Citizens were encouraged to file a formal complaint to force a state review of the minimum wage. The state must then “investigate and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the wages paid to any employee is not a living wage,” as said in the original petition.

The workers filed some of the formal complaints that were later rejected by Walker’s labor department. The lawsuit against the governor was filed following the rejection.

The original lawsuit also included complaints about the living wage being insufficient in securing employees reasonable living standards and welfare. 

 Lisa Lucas, spokesperson for Wisconsin Jobs Now, stated that plaintiffs are not considering an appeal at this time.

Update 12/2/15, 7:56 P.M: A previous version of this story stated Judge Rhonda Lanford dismissed the case without a reason. That is incorrect and the story has been updated with the judge's opinion. The Daily Cardinal regrets this error.

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