- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A group campaigning to gradually raise Arkansas’ minimum wage has turned in more than 77,000 signatures to put its proposal on the November ballot.

Give Arkansas a Raise Now submitted its petitions Monday to put its proposed initiated act on the ballot. The group said it turned in 77,288 signatures for the proposal. Initiated acts need at least 62,507 signatures from registered voters. Monday is the deadline to submit petitions for initiatives.

The proposal would raise Arkansas’ minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017. Arkansas is one of only four states with a minimum wage lower than the federal rate of $7.25 per hour.

The proposal is backed by Arkansas’ top Democratic candidates, who view it as a potential campaign issue in the November election.

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