Bill That Would Raise Idaho's Minimum Wage Gets Print Hearing


A bill that would raise Idaho's minimum wage has received a print hearing, and is now waiting to be scheduled for public testimony.

The bill, fronted by Rep. Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) and Sen. Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum), appeared before the Senate State Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Curt McKenzie (R-Boise). There's no word yet on when public testimony on the bill, which would raise the state's minimum wage from the federal minimum—$7.25 per hour—to $8.25 in 2015, $9.25 in 2016 and then peg the wage to the consumer price index, will take place. 

"It is absolutely critical for working families in Idaho that this minimum wage bill has a public hearing. Hardworking Idahoans who are trying to survive on poverty wages deserve to have their stories heard by their elected representatives," wrote Idaho AFL-CIO President Aaron White in a press release.

Raising the minimum wage has been a conversation topic in the region for years, and two of Idaho's neighbors—Oregon and Washington—have recently raised theirs. They also are among the states with the highest minimum wages in the country. Forbes reports that Wal-Mart and TJ Maxx have both raised the minimum wages for their employees.

In Idaho, organized labor and other stakeholders have pushed for legislation for years. Others have argued that doing so in Idaho could yield the same economic benefits it did in nearby states.