House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s top legislative priority, passing a bill raising Kentucky’s minimum wage, passed through the Kentucky House of Representatives on Thursday with bipartisan support. Stumbo’s legislation, House Bill 1, raises the hourly wage of hard-working Kentuckians currently making the minimum wage.
“I’m encouraged and happy to see my colleagues in the House, both Democrat and Republican, reaffirm that we are committed to the idea that folks who work to earn a living ought to make a living wage,” Stumbo said. “While this increase, less than a dollar an hour staggered over three years, might not sound like a lot to some, I truly believe it will have an enormous impact on the working men and women who are doing everything they can to keep their families going on minimum wage. We have asked them to stretch their dollars to the breaking point and I think what we have done today is the right thing.”
Stumbo signaled he would move to increase Kentucky’s minimum wage shortly before the start of the 2014 Legislative Session. Stumbo opted to make raising the state’s minimum wage his top legislative priority after reading a testimonial in his hometown newspaper which spelled out how a full-time employee working 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year would only make $15,080 before paying their first dime of taxes.
Under House Bill 1, Kentucky’s minimum wage would raise from $7.25, where it has stood since 2007, to $8.20 on July 1, 2014. It would raise again each year until the minimum wage is $10.10 in July of 2016. This will help the estimated 400,000 working Kentuckians who make at or below minimum wage. Additionally House Bill 1 will go a long way in securing the financial security of Kentucky’s children. According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, 1 in 4 Kentucky children live in a home where at least 1 parent earns the minimum wage.