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Meyer v. State
Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division
February 5, 2019
ERIC MEYER, LELA ALSTON, RICHARD C. ANDRADE, REGINALD BOLDING JR., MARK A. CARDENAS, KEN CLARK, DIEGO ESPINOZA, CHARLENE R. FERNANDEZ, RANDALL FRIES, ROSANNA GABALDON, SALLY ANN GONZALES, ALBERT HALE, MATTHEW A. KOPEC, JOHNATHAN R. LARKIN, STEFANIE MACH, JUAN JOSE MENDEZ, LISA A. OTONDO, CELESTE PLUMLEE, REBECCA RIOS, MACARIO SALDATE, CECI VELASQEZ, AND BRUCE WHEELER, members of the Arizona State House of Representatives; KATIE HOBBS, DAVID BRADLEY, OLIVIA CAJERO BEDFORD, LUPE CONTRERAS, ANDREA DALESSANDRO, STEVE FARLEY, BARBARA MCGUIRE, ROBERT MEZA, CATHERINE MIRANDA, and MARTIN QUEZADA, members of the Arizona State Senate, Plaintiffs/Appellees,
STATE OF ARIZONA, a body politic, Defendant/Appellant.
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV 2016-092409
The Honorable Joshua D. Rogers, Judge.
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Rusty D.
Crandell Counsel for Defendant/Appellant
Law Group, Tempe By Israel G. Torres; James E. Barton, II;
Sama John Golestan Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellees
Presiding Judge Jennifer B. Campbell delivered the opinion of
the Court, in which Judge Paul J. McMurdie and Judge Kent E.
The State appeals the superior court's grant of summary
judgment in favor of Appellees, members of the Arizona House
of Representatives and Senate who voted against passage of
House Bill ("H.B.") 2579 (collectively, the
"Legislators"), finding Arizona Revised Statutes
("A.R.S.") section 23-204, as amended by H.B. 2579,
unconstitutional because it violates the Voter Protection Act
("VPA"). For the following reasons, we affirm.
In 2006, Arizona voters passed Proposition 202, an initiative
measure commonly referred to as the "Raise the Minimum
Wage for Working Arizonans Act" ("Minimum Wage
Act" or "Act"). The Minimum Wage Act is
codified at A.R.S. §§ 23-362, -363, and -364. The
central provision at issue in this appeal falls under the
enforcement provision, A.R.S. § 23-364, which empowers a
county, city, or town to "regulate minimum wages and
benefits within its geographic boundaries" as long
as it does "not provide for a minimum wage lower than
that prescribed in this article." A.R.S. §
23-364(I) (emphasis added). It goes on to state, "[t]his
article . . . shall not limit the authority of the
legislature or any other body to adopt any law or policy that
requires payment of higher or supplemental wages or
benefits, or that extends such protections to employers
or employees not covered by this article." Id.
In May 2016, the legislature adopted H.B. 2579, which amended
A.R.S. § 23-204 and preempted the field of nonwage
benefits, removing from cities and towns the power to
regulate nonwage benefits. H.B. 2579 passed with majority
votes in both the House and Senate, but neither chamber
received a three-fourths' majority vote. The relevant
language of the bill provides:
The regulation of employee benefits, including nonwage
compensation, paid and unpaid leave and other absences, meal
breaks and rest periods, is of statewide concern. The
regulation of nonwage employee benefits pursuant to this
chapter and federal law is not subject to further regulation
by a city, town or other political subdivision of this state.
A.R.S. § 23-204(A).
In June 2016, the plaintiffs sued the State in the superior
court seeking declaratory relief, asking H.B. 2579 be found
unconstitutional because it violated the VPA and the
home-rule provision of the Arizona Constitution. The
plaintiffs were comprised of three groups: (1) a labor union,
United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 99
("UFCW"); (2) five individual city councilmembers
from three Arizona cities ("Councilmembers"); and
(3) the Legislators who voted against H.B. 2579. The State
moved to dismiss the home-rule claims by all three groups of
plaintiffs and moved to dismiss the VPA claims by UFCW and
the Councilmembers only. The superior court granted the
State's motion to dismiss in full, leaving only the
Legislators' VPA claim.
The State and Legislators filed cross-motions for summary
judgment on the VPA claim. After briefing and oral argument,
the court granted the Legislators' motion for summary
judgment, ruling that H.B. 2579 impliedly repealed a portion
of the Minimum Wage Act and therefore violated the VPA. The
court also awarded the Legislators all attorney fees