Minimum wage proposal fails
How they voted
The vote was on a motion to send to committee a proposal to increase the state minimum wage of $2.65 per hour to the federal minimum wage of $5.85 per hour, and then to follow the federal wage as it increases during the next several years. A “yes” vote was to send it back to committee, which essentially killed the increase. A “no” vote was against sending it back to committee. The proposal was sent back to committee on a 63-58 vote.
Anthony Brown, R-EudoraLee Tafanelli, R-OzawkieKenny Wilk, R-Lansing
Paul Davis, D-LawrenceTom Holland, D-Baldwin CityAnn Mah, D-TopekaTom Sloan, R-Lawrence
Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, was absent.
Topeka ? A proposal to put Kansas’ state minimum wage – the lowest in the nation – on track with the federal minimum wage was defeated Thursday by Republicans in the House.
Republicans attacked the measure on two fronts – saying the state minimum wage was irrelevant because of the higher federal minimum wage, while also saying that the proposed increase would hurt small businesses.
But Democrats argued the state minimum wage of $2.65 per hour was a national embarrassment and disservice to working Kansans.
“If you’re willing to work to improve yourself and your family, the law should help you,” said House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, D-Greensburg.
Under the proposal by state Rep. Stan Frownfelter, D-Kansas City, Kan., the state minimum wage would have increased on Sept. 1 to the federal minimum wage of $5.85 per hour, then follow planned federal increases to $6.55 an hour and $7.25 an hour in future years.
Kansas’ state minimum wage of $2.65 an hour is at the bottom of the 45 states that have a state rate.
The state minimum wage affects about 19,000 workers in Kansas, mostly in service or agricultural jobs, who aren’t covered by the federal minimum wage law, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
A motion to send Frownfelter’s proposal back to the House Commerce and Labor Committee was approved 63-58. That essentially killed the measure.
The 63 votes were all Republican, while the 58 votes were cast by Democrats and 12 Republicans.
State Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Bel Aire, and chairman of the committee, voted to refer the measure back to his committee but later said he would have no time this session to consider it.
Brunk said he hasn’t allowed a hearing on similar proposals in his committee in the past because he prefers that there be some agreement between various sides on a wage bill.
“There just doesn’t seem to be much agreement” on this issue, he said.
Thirty-two states have state minimum wage rates that are more than the federal minimum wage, including Missouri and Colorado. Ten states have minimum wage rates that are the same as the federal rate, including Oklahoma and Nebraska.
Three states have lower rates than the federal rate, and that includes Kansas at $2.65 an hour, and Georgia and Wyoming, both at $5.15 an hour. Five states have no state minimum wage rate – Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina.