House Votes to Increase, Protect Minimum Wage
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 @ 7:28PM
Contact: Tom Wright, 465-3779
HB 384 carries two yearly raises, inflation-proofs moving forward
Sunday, April 13, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today voted to increase the state’s minimum wage by $2.00 over the next two years and inflation-proof it moving forward. House Bill 384 raises the minimum wage for 1.8 percent of Alaska’s workforce for the first time since the $.50 increase of 2007.
“Alaskans have expressed broad support for increasing the wage, and we’ve listened,” Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “We’ve sent the initiative through the legislative process, and it’s come out stronger because of it.”
HB 384 raises the state minimum wage by $1.25 this year and $1.00 next year, totaling $10.00. In the third year, inflation-proofing against the Anchorage Consumer Price Index (CPI) would begin to ensure the value of the minimum wage tracked with rising a cost-of-living and goods. The bill was amended on the House floor to change the effective date to July 1, 2014 instead of Jan. 1, 2015, meaning the first year raise to $9.00 takes effect six months sooner.
“We have a responsibility to represent our constituents, and hardworking Alaskans deserve to not have to wait for the minimum wage to increase in Alaska,” Representative Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, who carried the bill on the floor for the Majority, said.
Caucus leaders worked with their peers in the Alaska Senate for more than a month on the bill, hoping for a companion to be introduced in the other body. Following leadership discussions, Majority leadership decided to carry the issue forward separately, and a bill was drafted following the joint Judiciary Committee hearing on the ballot initiative. The House Labor & Commerce Committee heard the bill and took public testimony before sending it to House Rules for calendaring a floor vote.
“The Alaska Constitution offers the Legislature the avenue to enact substantially similar legislation should they deem the initiative good public policy, and in this case we believe it is,” House Rules Committee Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, said. “The benefit outweighs the wait and chance the measure could fail at the polls. I am glad to stick up for working Alaskans and bring them some certainty.”
Legislative intent language was also amended onto the bill on the floor, stating it is the Legislature’s intent to honor the bill’s passage for two years, similar to that of the initiative. “I want Alaskans to know that it’s not our intent to come back next year and amend statute, contrary to what was done the last time the issue was legislated before voters could act,” Speaker Chenault said.
HB 384, which passed by a vote of 21-19, now moves to the Senate for consideration.
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Categories: Build a Strong Economy, Guiding Principles, Healthy Communities, House Majority Press Releases, Rep. Craig Johnson, Rep. Lance Pruitt, Rep. Mia Costello, Rep. Mike Chenault
Topics: employment, salaries & allowances, wages