By: Christine Garber, Research Analyst
October 1, 2014
In January’s State of the Union Address, President Obama introduced an executive order raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for federal contractors in hopes that legislation to raise the minimum wage for all workers would follow. However, Congress did not pass such an initiative in 2014.
Taking matters into their own hands, 38 state legislatures introduced minimum wage legislation this past session. Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and D.C. have enacted increases during the 2014 session.The status of minimum wage varies considerably by state, though, and while there is a federal minimum wage, several states have a higher set minimum wage. In those states, the higher rate prevails.
With the 2015 legislative sessions around the corner, minimum wage continues to be at the forefront. Ballot measures in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota will be before voters for their decision this November. Recent efforts to raise the minimum wage by ballot measure have been successful, according to the Wall Street Journal. Thus, it is likely that these five states will soon follow suit.
Recent protests by fast-food workers urging for a $15.00 minimum wage have also increased awareness. Backed by the SEIU, the protests ended in arrests of protesters in several cities. Time will soon tell if the effort was successful when legislators return to their statehouses. Check back with the MultiState Insider after the elections for updated coverage.