Minimum Wage

Ohio Valley Workers, Employers React as House Votes for $15 Minimum Wage

Jul 18, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current $7.25 rate, which has not changed in a decade. The bill is unlikely to clear the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he will not take it up. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, despite legislation passed in 2017 that allowed cannabis to be legal for medical use in West Virginia, officials say they’re still years away from the first sale. That’s -- at least in part -- because of a hangup with finding a banking solution to get around federal law.

State health officials say they also have to implement permitting and licensing for patients and those who want to start businesses within the industry. Dave Mistich gives us a look at the stalled program and what’s needed to get it off the ground.

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would increase the pay of at least 17 million people, but also put 1.3 million Americans out of work, according to a study by the Congressional Budget Office released on Monday.

The increased federal minimum could also raise the wages of another 10 million workers and lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, according to the nonpartisan CBO. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 and last increased a decade ago.

Money, Cash
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Starting on New Year's Day, the lowest-paid workers in West Virginia will get a raise.

The Mountain State's minimum wage is set to increase by 75 cents to $8 per hour on Thursday.

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  Opposition from the business community has prompted the West Virginia Division of Labor to withdraw proposed emergency wage rules.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that acting Labor Commissioner John Junkins cited employers' concerns in a recent letter to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant asking to withdraw the rules.

The rules were related to the state's new minimum wage law, which goes into effect Thursday.

Americans United for Change

An organization working to lobby law makers to raise the minimum wage made a stop in Charleston today. The group called, Americans United for Change, is behind a tour across the country the in the "Give America a Raise” bus.

While in the state, they are joined by West Virginia Citizen Action Group, local faith and labor leaders, a small business owner, and low-wage workers.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers will be called into a special session slated for May to deal with a newly signed bill to increase the minimum wage, according to a press release issued Tuesday evening by Governor Tomblin’s office.

The bill will raise the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $8 on Jan. 1, 2015, and again to $8.75 the following year.

Tomblin signed the minimum wage bill Tuesday after stating earlier in the day he had some concerns about overtime provisions and maximum hours in the bill. Those provisions could unintentionally costs cities thousands, he said.

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill to raise the minimum wage by $1.50 over three years.

West Virginia Morning
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On this West Virginia Morning, the Senate deals with minimum wage, the budget, and fracking waste while the House considers construction worker safety. We also have a special report on brain research from West Virginia University. And the Del McCoury Band is our featured musical guest in this week's Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

The House passed the Water Resources Protection and Management Act on Wednesday. The Senate passes their version of the budget bill and calls for $125 million to be used from the Rainy Day Fund. Healthcare lobbyist Thom Stevens outlines some of the more than 200 bills this session relating to healthcare, including the late-term abortion bill and a bill that would make pseudoephedrine available by  prescription only.

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The West Virginia Senate Finance Committee has watered down a House bill to raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage would be increased by $1.50 over three years instead of two.
 
Under the bill amended Wednesday, the standard would increase from $7.25 to $7.50 an hour in January 2015, to $8 in January 2016, and to $8.75 in January 2017. Originally the House voted to raise the wage 75 cents each year over two years.

Economic Policy Institute

A recent study says income inequality between the top 1% of West Virginia's wealthiest and rest of working West Virginians is among the highest in the nation.

While the West Virginia legislature considers increasing the state's minimum wage, a new report shows  the state's top 1% of income earners captured over half of all West Virginia's income growth between 1979 and 2007.

Aaron Payne

In the governor’s State of the State address, Tomblin said that one of his goals for the legislative session is to provide a pay raise for groups such as teachers and state workers. The House of Delegates voted on a bill that would do the same for a different group in West Virginia; minimum wage workers.

West Virginia Morning
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On this West Virginia Morning, DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling talks to Beth Vorhees about the chemical leak in Charleston.

Meanwhile, a Congressional Hearing about the Spill brings federal lawmakers to Charleston.

Those stories and more!

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee holds a field hearing on the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River, the House of Delegates considers a bill that would increase the minimum wage, and Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling talks about her agency's response to the water crisis.

Subscribe to the podcast for daily downloads of the program.

Aaron Payne

Currently, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

The House Finance Committee amended H.B. 4283 to increase minimum wage by 75 cents to $8.00 per hour by January of 2015 and then add another 75 cents by January of 2016 to total $8.75. The amendment delayed those changes from July 2014 and 2015 respectively so that businesses could have time to budget for the increase.

The House of Delegates responds to accusations that the triple committee reference of the Senate's chemical spill bill means certain demise. The Senate plans to get children exercising, rehabilitation programs to quell prison overcrowding, and a bill to create a future fund for mineral severance taxes. Former Charleston Daily Mail business editor and current West Virginia Press Association writer George Hohmann talks Senator John Unger's 'Move to Improve' initiative and minimum wage. Eric Eyre of The Charleston Gazette discusses prescription-only pseudoephedrine legislation aimed at stifling meth production.