Kentucky Legislative Leaders Comment On Minimum Wage Legislation

Feb 7, 2014

(left) Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) and House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonburg)
Credit Kentucky LRC

Leaders of the Kentucky Senate and House are exchanging words on minimum wage legislation.  The House yesterday approved a bill to raise the minimum wage 95 cents a year for three years, eventually reaching ten dollars ten cents an hour.  Senate President Robert Stivers says his chamber is more interested in creating new jobs.

“And if they want to keep a very narrow approach of how are we just gonna keep minimum wage jobs around here, that’s their prerogative.  We want to look at much broader more optimistic picture,” said Stivers.

Saying Kentucky’s minimum wage would rise if the federal government enacted a hike, Stivers believes state action on the matter is not needed.  Speaker Stumbo contends Stivers is playing politics with the lives of the working poor.  “The people that that bill would help are the lowest people on the socio-economic ladder in Kentucky.  They’re the working poor,” said Stumbo.

Stivers asked if Stumbo is promoting the minimum wage issue to score political points with voters. 

The Senate Thursday approved a constitutional amendment measure.  If enacted, it would give the legislature the ability to block administrative regulations proposed by the governor’s office when lawmakers are not in session.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo doesn’t believe it’s the right approach.  “I agree with the concept, but I don’t agree with doing it with a constitutional amendment and I’ve said that publicly.  We can fix statutorily what they are trying to fix without monkeying with the Constitution,” added Stumbo.

The Senate bill regarding gubernatorial authority is considered one of the highest priorities of republican members of the Senate.  The minimum wage bill is likewise regarded as a high priority of House democrats.