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Voter ID, minimum wage hike, airport funding are voting issues

Grow Nebraska co-chairs meet with Journal Star editorial board to discuss Amendment 1.

Three statewide questions will appear on general election ballots.

Two are on the ballot through the initiative petition process and one is a proposed constitutional amendment that was placed on the ballot by the Legislative Assembly.

One initiative would enact a law requiring Nebraskanians to show photo ID before voting and the other would raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.

Both campaigns have met the legal requirements to qualify to run before voters on November 8. The voter ID card received ballot #432 and the minimum wage question received #433.

After nearly a decade of failure to get a voter ID law out of the Legislature, the petition for the proposed constitutional amendment has been signed by 172,000 Nebraskans, according to sponsor Senator Julie Slama from Sterling.

As a proposed constitutional amendment, the petition required approximately 124,000 signatures, or 10% of registered voters in the state, including 5% of voters in at least 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

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Secretary of State Bob Evnen’s office said the voter identification petition submitted 136,458 valid signatures and met the requirements in 76 counties.

The measure was long sought by Republican members of the Legislature, but failed to overcome a Democratic-led filibuster. Opponents said a voter ID measure would make it harder for older, low-income and non-white voters to vote.

Raise the Wage Nebraska submitted more than 160,000 signatures in July following a campaign that would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage over the next few years.

A proposed new state law, the minimum wage petition had 97,245 valid signatures — it needed just over 86,000, or 7% of registered voters — and met the 5% threshold in 44 counties, a Evnen said.

If approved by voters, Nebraska’s minimum wage would drop from $9 an hour to $10.50 an hour on January 1 before increasing by $1.50 each year through 2026.

The campaign was backed by a coalition of 27 organizations and politicians, who said raising the minimum wage would benefit about 1 in 5 workers in the state.

A pair of petitions to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska failed to qualify for the ballot, missing more than 9,000 signatures.

The proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot would give communities with airports the power to use a minimum income guarantee agreement as a tool to attract additional commercial air passenger service.

The proposal (LB283CA) was presented by Senator Eliot Bostar of Lincoln.

It would allow cities or other subdivisions that operate an airport to spend revenue to develop scheduled commercial passenger air service and would apply to the state’s nine commercial passenger airports.

Lincoln Airport recently signed an interlocal agreement that allowed it to use federal stimulus funds as an incentive to hire new airline service, but it’s a one-time deal.