Increasing Ky.'s minimum wage is House Democrats' top priority for 2014 session

01/03/2014 03:05 PM

UPDATED: House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D- Prestonsburg, announced Friday that he will propose legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 in Kentucky.

The bill will mirror President Barack Obama’s proposal increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, Stumbo said. Stumbo’s measure will get the symbolic House Bill 1 designation, which is meant to underscore it’s importance.

Kentucky has not raised the minimum wage since 2009.

“We’ll be talking about middle class families and helping the middle class and helping working families across Kentucky,” Stumbo said.

The move to increase the minimum wage in Congress is a top priority of PObama, and Democrats across the country are following suit and turning to the minimum wage as a strategy in the 2014 election cycle.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has endorsed the minimum wage increase and criticized U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, for opposing it.

Kentucky Republicans, however, oppose a minimum wage increase in concept

“I don’t believe wages should be set by the government. I think they should be set by the marketplace,” Sen. Damon Thayer, the Senate Republican Floor leader, said Thursday night at the Northern Kentucky Forum.

“I don’t see a need to continue to expand that reach into the private market,” added Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill.

Both Thayer and McDaniel said they wouldn’t consider a minimum wage increase even in exchange for a key priority of theirs: repealing Kentucky’s prevailing wage law that governs the rates Kentucky governments pay construction workers for building public projects.

House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover released a statement after the news conference linking Stumbo and the Democrats back to Obama — who has fared poorly in Kentucky.

“This agenda is just more of the Obama style liberal leadership the Speaker has long supported. Democrats see government as the answer to rebuilding our economy. Republicans see creating conditions for employers in the private sector to create and add jobs as our top priority,” Hoover said.

- With additional reporting from Ryan Alessi at the Northern Kentucky Forum.

(For more, watch Friday night’s edition of Pure Politics at 7 p.m. EST/6 Central on Time Warner Cable’s cn|2)


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