The owner of Buena Vista-based Arkansas Valley Adventures (AVA) filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s mandate that ordered all federal contractors to pay a $15-per-hour minimum wage, plus overtime, starting January 30, 2022. Not only will this rule hurt the livelihoods of both guides and business owners, but the administration lacks constitutional authority to create these rules in the first place.

“Only Congress can make law setting minimum wages,” says PLF attorney Caleb Kruckenberg. “The president can’t establish a minimum wage through administrative fiat. The Constitution says that only Congress can make laws that bind the public.”

AVA provides a full slate of outdoor experiences that stretch throughout the year—something for every season, including guided, multi-day river rafting wilderness trips in the summer.

AVA is not a federal contractor and never has been, but the Department of Labor included all businesses that hold a special land use permit to operate on federal lands. River rafting on federal lands subjects AVA to the new rules, which don’t make sense for a seasonal workplace where rafting trips can take days.

With the new rule, AVA will have to cut the length of trips, cut the guides’ hours, or radically raise fees, all of which would hurt the livelihoods of owner Duke Bradford and his guides. For AVA, the rule threatens to end multi-day trips, which help rafters disconnect from technology and connect with nature and each other.

The case is Duke Bradford, et al. v. Secretary Martin J. Walsh, et al., filed in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.

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