Kentucky lawmaker pre-files bill to raise minimum wage

Published: Nov. 21, 2018 at 12:05 PM EST
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State Senator Reginald Thomas, a Democrat from Lexington, has pre-filed a bill that would eventually raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour.

BR 302 would amend KRS 337.275 to raise the minimum wage each year until 2026, when the hourly wage would reach $15.

This is the second time Sen. Thomas has proposed a bill like this.

"Statistics after statistics show that three out of five minimum wage earners, 60 percent of your minimum wage earners, are working mothers," said Sen. Thomas. "So what that tells you is that when you increase minimum wage you're helping women, you're helping children, you're helping families."

The bill proposes the following yearly increases to hourly wages:

July 1, 2019 - $8.20

July 1, 2020 - $9.15

July 1, 2021 - $10.10

July 1, 2022 - $11.00

July 1, 2023 - $12.05

July 1, 2024 - $13.10

July 1, 2025 - $13.95

July 1, 2026 - $15.00

The bill would also raise the minimum wage for tipped employees to $4.90 per hour by July 1, 2022.

Language included in BR 302 would allow local governments to set minimum wages higher than the state minimum wage.

Last year, Sen. Thomas' proposed a minimum wage bill that did not get very far.

"All I asked the Senate leadership last year was to give me a committee hearing. I didn't ask them to promise to send it to the floor. I didn't ask them to even vote in the committee," said Sen. Thomas. "Let's have a hearing on this very important issue and I'm hoping this year they have a different frame of mind."

Sister station WKYT reports Sen. Thomas believes the idea will help with poverty in Kentucky.

"Raising the minimum wage is one way to address poverty," said Sen. Thomas. "Poverty does impact the opioid crisis, it does impact gang violence. It impacts school attendance."

You can read the official pre-filed bill below. (If viewing on a mobile app, click on the link to read in a web browser.)