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UPDATE – (Smirking) House Democrats to offer ‘training wage’ for new lawmakers

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:58 am with 1 Comment »
March 15, 2013 8:08 am
Rep. Laurie Jinkins
Rep. Laurie Jinkins
Rep. Mike Sells
Rep. Mike Sells

We’ll see if they actually file a bill. But four House Democrats apparently are going to introduce snarky legislation this week that hits back at Republicans trying to poke holes in Washington’s state minimum wage law, which at $9.19 per hour is the highest in the country.

Liberal advocacy group Fuse announced that Democratic Reps. Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma, Mike Sells of Everett, Sherri Appleton of Poulsbo and Timm Ormsby of Spokane will hold a press conference at noon Thursday in the O’Brien House Hearing Room D to announce a “training wage” for new legislators that is 25 percent less than what is paid to lawmakers today. [UPDATE: Collin Jergens of Fuse says they postponed their event until noon Tuesday in O'Brien Room B-18.]

The bill would mimic Senate Bill 5275 and House Bill 1150, which are backed by small business and restaurant groups, allowing a temporary lower minimum wage for teens.

The House bill already died in Sells’ Labor & Workforce Development Committee, while the Senate bill awaits a floor vote.

Rank-and-file state lawmakers earn $42,106 a year, plus expense allowances, and their pay is set by a citizens commission and cannot actually be changed by the Legislature.

Fuse contends the wage bill is one of “so many bills that undermine the health and security of middle class working families that it’s almost impossible not to view them as a comprehensive agenda.’’

In its news release, Fuse said:

Under the proposed resolution, new legislators would earn only 75% of their salary for their first two years in office. It is modeled after Senate Republicans’ efforts to cut the minimum wage by 25 percent for many new hires’ first 680 hours. In addition to the Legislative Training Wage, representatives at the press conference will unveil other proposals to ensure that legislators would be subject to the same rules as working families.

Proponents are introducing this resolution to challenge the Senate Republican majority’s broad attacks on the health and security of working families.  They are moving a comprehensive agenda that would cut the minimum wage for new workers, reduce protections for injured workers, eliminate time off for sick workers and family leave insurance, end pensions for many public employees, and eliminate the Working Families Tax Rebate.

On a more serious note, Sells said Tuesday that he plans to devote part of a work session  in his committee on Wednesday, March 6, to examining the 2012 Jobs Gap Report  issued Tuesday by Washington CAN! and the Alliance For a Just Society. It found that the minimum wage is still too low to provide workers with enough to live on in Washington and other states.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE on Feb. 27 post: The Democrats introduced their bill and later withdrew it. Needless to say, perhaps, it is not getting a hearing.

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