kentucky minimum wage

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The Kentucky Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a lawsuit on Friday over whether Louisville can increase the minimum wage employers pay their workers.

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  Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin issued five high-profile executive orders on Tuesday on issues ranging from same-sex marriage licenses to voting rights for ex-felons.

“Today, I took action to uphold several commitments I made during my campaign so that we can implement real solutions that will help the people of Kentucky,” Bevin said in a press release.

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  Gov. Steve Beshear this week issued an executive order to increase the minimum wage for about 800 state workers—but his term ends this year.

Whether to keep the wage hike beyond 2015 will be decided by his successor.

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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is raising the minimum wage for state employees and challenges public and private employers to follow the lead. 

Beshear signed the executive order today to institute a wage raise for employees working for the state executive branch to $10.10 per hour up from the current $7.25 per hour. 

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Retail giant Walmart is giving pay raises to its 12,088 employees in Kentucky. The move is part of a company-wide increase in wages that will see all Walmart employees earning $10 an hour by next February.

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The Kentucky General Assembly passed several important pieces of legislation in the just-concluded 2015 session, including a comprehensive heroin bill and a freeze to the state’s tumbling gas tax.

As Kentucky lawmakers consider increasing the state’s minimum wage, a WKU economics professor is warning such a move could have negative consequences. 

Dr. Brian Strow says a minimum wage hike would harm the people it’s meant to help. 

"More than half of minimum workers are 24 and younger," Strow tells WKU Public Radio.  "There's only about 15 percent of workers that are the major bread winner for their family."

The report, commissioned by the Bluegrass Institute, also notes that past minimum wage increase have resulted in higher unemployment in Kentucky relative to the rest of the country.  

"We are particularly hurt by increasing the minimum wage relative to the number of people working in Kentucky because a larger percentage of our population is actually working at minimum wage than in other states," he adds.

The Democratic-led Kentucky House earlier this month passed a bill that would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.  The measure faces dim prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

The last time state lawmakers approved a minimum wage increase was in 2007.  Supporters say the last increase has been eroded by inflation in the cost of living. 

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A bill that would increase Kentucky’s minimum wage to $10.10 over the course of three years has passed the state House of Representatives. 

Kentucky Legislative Research Commission

The House labor committee on Thursday approved a bill that would raise Kentucky’s minimum wage to $10.10 by July 2017.

The bill is similar to legislation that passed the Democratic-led House last year but died in the Republican-led Senate. The bill is sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg.

The debate over raising the minimum wage is heating up in Louisville, and Democratic state lawmakers want to take the issue statewide in 2015.

Rep. Rick Rand, who chairs the Kentucky House committee on Appropriations and Revenue, said the time is right for a wage hike in the state.

"We were going to phase it in over three years so it's not going to be an immediate shock to employers. And I strongly believe that those dollars are going to be turned over in the economy,” said Rand, a Democrat from Bedford.

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