Amendment 2 passes, increasing Florida's minimum wage to $15

Florida voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 2, gradually boosting the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, while narrowly rejecting a proposal that would have overhauled the state’s primary-election system.

The hike in the minimum wage will be phased in through Sept. 30, 2026, but it will represent a significant move in a state heavily dependent on tourism and the service industry for jobs. It was put on the ballot with the financial help of well-known Orlando trial attorney John Morgan.

ELECTION RESULTS: Florida constitutional amendments

As of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, the minimum-wage measure, Amendment 2, had support from nearly 61 percent of voters, above the 60 percent threshold needed for passing. It will increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour on Sept. 30, 2021, and then increase it by $1 each year until Sept. 30, 2026, when it will be $15 per hour. Currently, the minimum wage is $8.56.

Business groups that opposed the measure conceded defeat late Tuesday. NFIB Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle said an October analysis showed that 20 percent of small businesses were unsure if they would remain operational in the next six months.

MORE: Florida constitutional amendments: What do they mean?

"This makes 2021 a greater challenge for small businesses. Throw it on, we'll see if this breaks the camel's back," Herrle said.

Florida is the eighth state to adopt a $15 minimum wage, and supporters said it is needed to improve the standard of living of many workers.

“This will help me a whole lot, I know it will,” said Gail Rogers, a 60-year old Ybor City resident who, after working at McDonald's for six years, said she earns $9.40 an hour.

Rogers, a widow who resides in a rooming house for women, is a member of the nationwide group Fight for $15 and has routinely protested her low wages in recent years.

“I can earn a little more cash. I can save more,” she said of the higher minimum wage. “I can save until I get to where I need to be at. I am not where I need to be at.”

While Amendment 2 faced opposition from many business groups, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was quiet about where he stood on the proposed constitutional amendment until right before Election Day, when he issued a statement in which he said now is “not the time” to increase the minimum wage, warning that its passage would be bad for Florida businesses and the state. 

In all, six amendments were on the ballot in Florida this year.

Amendment 1 approved by 80% of Florida voters

Voters in Florida have overwhelmingly approved Amendment One, a change to the state’s constitution that would make a slight change to the wording in Florida’s election laws.

Amendment to overhaul Florida primaries narrowly rejected by voters

Florida voters narrowly rejected a proposal that would have overhauled the state’s primary-election system.

Amendment 4 falls short, preserving Florida's amendment approval process

Voters in Florida have rejected Amendment Four, which would have made it harder to amend our state constitution in the future.  

Florida Amendment 5 passes with 74% of vote

Voters in Florida have rejected/approved Amendment Five, which will give Florida homeowners more leeway in maintaining tax property tax benefits.

Florida Amendment 6 passes with 90% of vote

Voters in Florida have approved Amendment Six, which deals with other special tax breaks our state gives to disabled veterans.

FLORIDA AMENDMENTS EXPLAINED:

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.