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Minimum Wage Redux: House OKs Increase For Second Year

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Josh James
/
WUKY

For the second year, the Kentucky House has put its stamp of approval on a minimum wage increase, though the bill’s prospects in the Republican-led Senate remain bleak.

The measure raising the wage to $10.10 incrementally over three years generated hours of debate on the House floor. Lexington Republican Rep. Stan Lee was among those charging that a wage increase will translate to job loss.

"We shouldn't be up here, ladies and gentlemen, lambasting people who have taken risks to create jobs, to start businesses, to generate profits. Profits are not a bad thing," he told his colleagues.

Speaker Stumbo, however, argued that the time has long past to act for Kentucky’s low-wage workers.

"They want to do something for these workers, but they only want to give them a crumb and not what they're entitled to. It's malarkey. No one should believe that this bill's going to cost anybody any jobs. 55 percent of Kentuckians polled don't believe it," the speaker said.

The bill also includes language guaranteeing pay equity between male and female workers, a provision opponents argued is already covered under state law.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.