/ Modified feb 5, 2019 1:50 p.m.

Court: Arizona Lawmakers Can't Block Local Employee-Benefit Laws

The court upheld a ruling to toss a law that attempted to bar cities from enacting laws disliked by legislators.

Yuma harvest Workers harvest greens alongside farm equipment in the Yuma area in this file photo.

PHOENIX — An Arizona appellate court says state lawmakers can't block towns, cities and counties from requiring employers to provide additional benefits to workers.

The Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a ruling by a Maricopa County judge who tossed a 2016 law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union and 32 Democratic lawmakers sued. They say the 2016 law illegally overruled a 2006 initiative that raised the state's minimum wage and gave local governments the right to enact higher wages or boost fringe benefits.

It was an example of state lawmakers trying to bar liberal-leaning cities from enacting laws they don't like. The judges say their effort violates the Voter Protection Act, which restricts when lawmakers can change voter-approved initiatives.

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