Slight increase in minimum wage moves through committee
A new bill to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.20 an hour beginning August 1, 2016 passed out of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Tuesday with most committee members voting yes and several members passing rather than opposing.
The legislation sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo has been amended from the version passed out of the House Labor and Industry Committee in January. The previous version of the bill would have increased the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour incrementally over three years.
Stumbo said the new, lower proposal comes after some confusion over the three year increase put forth in the earlier version of the bill. The House Speaker also added that if the increase to $8.20 an hour passed, the legislature could choose to reevaluate the rate again in later sessions.
The legislation, filed as House Bill 278, also includes provisions to increase the threshold of gross volume of sales a business must make in a year to be exempt from the wage increase. Currently, that threshold is set at $95,000 for a business. Under the new proposal, all businesses bringing in less than $500,000 gross profits from sales would be exempt.
Language to ensure equity of pay regardless of gender and other factors in compliance with the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 is also included in the bill.
The legislation passed out of committee with five no votes, five members passing on the vote and the rest voting in favor of the bill. House Bill 278 now heads to the full House for a vote on the floor.