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It appears that California voters will not get a chance to vote on increasing the minimum wage to $18 in November.

The minimum wage initiative was not among seven measures that had enough valid signatures to qualify for the general election ballot by Thursday’s deadline, according to the California secretary of state.

California’s minimum wage for all employers is set to rise to $15.50 an hour in January, as inflation triggers a law governing automatic pay increases.

The state’s minimum wage has increased yearly since 2017, and is currently $14 an hour for small employers and $15 an hour for employers with more than 26 workers.

Although California’s minimum wage is higher than the national rate of $7.25, proponents of the measure say the current standard is not enough, especially as housing costs and gas prices soar.

“Working families are suffocating,” said Anna Bahr, spokesperson for the Living Wage Act campaign. “The cost of living is skyrocketing — gas prices are at an all-time high, grocery bills are breaking the bank and a single medical emergency is enough to send someone into a lifetime of debt.”

The initiative’s failure to qualify for the ballot came as a surprise, as the campaign announced in May that it had 1 million signatures, well above the 623,212 required.

Bahr said Friday the campaign “will pursue every possible remedy” to get the measure on the ballot in November despite not meeting secretary of state standards set on Thursday.

Secretary of State Shirley Weber’s office did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

Business groups opposed the measure, arguing that wages are not something that should be mandated by the state and that not all companies can afford the same standard increase.


Minimum wage in L.A. rises to $16.04 an hour beginning today

As of today, the minimum wage rises to $16.04 an hour in the city of Los Angeles and $15.96 in unincorporated L.A. County.

Joe Sanberg, a Los Angeles investor and antipoverty activist who considered a 2020 presidential run, spearheaded the initiative and called the national minimum wage “a starvation wage.”

“There isn’t a single person in this country that can live a life of dignity on the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr,” Sanberg said in a tweet Friday. “If the minimum wage had increased at the rate of worker productivity since 1960, it would be $25 today.”

Meanwhile, pay hikes for minimum-wage workers in Los Angeles, led by Mayor Eric Garcetti, kicked in on Friday, increasing pay there to $16.04 an hour.

Measures that did qualify for the Nov. 8 election include proposals asking voters if they want to enshrine abortion access in the state Constitution and legalize sports betting.

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Lt. Gov. Josh Green wins Hawaii Democratic gubernatorial nomination, CNN projects

Washington (CNN)Lt. Gov. Josh Green will win the Democratic nomination for governor in Hawaii, CNN projects.

As of 7 a.m. ET Sunday, Green was winning 63.7% of the vote, while former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano had 21.4% and Rep. Kai Kahele had 13.7%.CNN also projects that former state Sen. Jill Tokuda will win the Democratic nomination for the state's open 2nd Congressional District, and Republican Joe Akana will win his party's nomination for the seat. As of 7 a.m. ET Sunday, Tokuda was winning 58.6% of the vote while State Rep. Patrick Branco had 24.6%.
    Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz will win renomination and face Republican Bob McDermott in November, and Democratic 1st Congressional District Rep. Ed Case will win renomination and will face Republican Conrad Kress, CNN projects.
      Green, a former emergency room doctor who served in the Hawaii state House and Senate, defeated Rep. Kai Kahele and former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano to clinch the nomination.Read MoreGreen was born in New York and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A part of the National Health Service Corps, he moved to Hawaii where he was stationed in 2000. He served in the Hawaii state legislature from 2004 to 2018. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2018 and in 2020 became the state's Covid-19 liaison, according to his bio.In a debate held in July, Green called out Kahele for serving one term in Congress and then retiring to return to Hawaii and run for governor, Hawaii News Now reported at the time.
        Kahele, who was elected to Congress in 2020 to replace Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, came under fire earlier this year for his part-time work as a commercial pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, which raised questions of whether he was breaking any ethics rules for continuing his work with the airline.
          Questions about Kahele's work with Hawaiian Airlines arose after the Honolulu Civil Beat published an in-depth story looking into his attendance at the US Capitol this year and his personal income since he entered office. The report found that Kahele had voted by proxy at least 120 times from the start of the year through early April, meaning another lawmaker has cast his votes for him.Kahele's office at the time defended his part-time work with Hawaiian Airlines and said his decision to vote by proxy was motivated by concerns over new coronavirus variants, given that the congressman lives in a multigenerational family home. His office said he remained committed to his work in Washington, DC.

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