Kentucky Lawmakers Prefile Bill Raising Minimum Wage

Aug 20, 2019

Left to Right- Louisa Rep. Kathy Hinkle and Lexington Sen. Reggie Thomas
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU

Raising minimum wage across Kentucky will once again be a topic of discussion during the 2020 General Assembly.  But, it's uncertain whether the legislation will receive a formal vote.

Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas and Louisa Representative Kathy Hinkle are proposing staggered increases in the minimum wage over the next seven years.  The measure caps the wage at $15 an hour in 2027. 

Hinkle said working families in her eastern Kentucky district need pay increases. “They’re getting medical cards. They’re getting food stamps and we hear all the time where the government wants to cut those and therefore what are people going to do.  We don’t want them living on the streets,” said Hinkle. She added the bill would allow individual cities to enact a higher minimum wage.

Paducah Senator Danny Carroll opposes government-imposed minimum wages.  He said the current workforce shortage for many employers is driving pay decisions. “The people that continue to pay the basic minimum wage, they’re not going to be able to get employees, so they will have to rethink what they are doing and I really do think that will drive the wages up in this state,” said Carroll.

Senator Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said it’s unlikely a bill to increase minimum wage will be heard in committee during the upcoming session because he said a mandated minimum wage increase can lead to a decrease in the number of jobs.

Here's a portion of the interview with Thomas:

Here's a portion of the interview with Carroll:

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