Effort to Force New Vote on D.C. Minimum Wage Measure Halted by Judge
By Fenit Nirappil
A D.C. Superior Court judge halted efforts Wednesday to force a new referendum on a law approved by voters — but repealed by the D.C. Council — that would overhaul how servers, bartenders and other tipped workers are paid.
Advocates were poised to submit more than 25,000 signatures needed to again ask voters next spring to require employers to pay a higher base wage to tipped workers. Voters approved that measure — known as Initiative 77 — in June, but a majority of the D.C. Council overturned it several months later.
Judge Neal E. Kravitz agreed with opponents, who are backed by the local restaurant industry, that elections officials failed to follow proper procedure when they allowed referendum supporters to collect signatures.
The judge’s ruling came as petition organizers were turning in boxes of signatures that they had collected at breakneck speed in the past week.