Not only is the recession over, but its memory must be fading as well. Voters in four states who had the opportunity to increase their minimum wages did so, with all passing easily. In the past two election years, voters in 17 states supported minimum wage increases.

Alaskan voters were the strongest supporters, as a measure to raise the minimum in two steps, to $9.75 by 2016, was approved by nearly 70 percent of the voters. In Arkansas, 65 percent of voters gave the thumbs up to an increase to $8.50 by 2017, while nearly 60 percent in Nebraska came out in favor of raising the base wage to $9 by 2016.

Fifty-five percent of South Dakota voters supported an increase to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2015; the measure also provides for annual increases in subsequent years based upon the rate of inflation.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.