The House State Affairs Committee, after a hearing that ran nearly two hours, has voted 12-5 to kill HB 843, a Democratic proposal to raise Idaho’s minimum wage from the current $5.15 an hour to $6.15, and to index it to inflation in the future. Opponents said the move would just push up prices and lead to unemployment, while supporters called it a dignity issue and said it would enable low-wage workers to be less dependent on government-funded welfare programs. More than a dozen people testified for and against the bill. Idaho’s minimum wage hasn’t risen since 1997, and it’s tied for lowest in the nation.
In the end, just the panel’s three Democrats, Reps. Mary Lou Shepherd of Prichard, Elaine Smith of Pocatello and Anne Pasley-Stuart of Boise, were joined by two Republicans in voting for the bill. The two Republicans were Reps. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, and Janet Miller, R-Boise.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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