The minimum wage in this state might just be going up here soon. According to a post on the Capital Beat blog at the Greensboro News & Record, both the North Carolina Senate and House passed legislative measures containing an increase in the minimum wage to $6.15 an hour.
The House and the Senate both voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $6.15 an hour today, but both in different ways.
This morning, Senators gave final approval to their version of the budget, which has a minimum wage increase tacked onto it.
This afternoon, House voted in favor of a stand-alone bill, which must go through a formal “third reading” in the chamber next week before final passage.
Local Democratic Reps. Alma Adams, Nelson Cole, Pricey Harrison, Maggie Jeffus, Hugh Holliman, and Earl Jones voted in favor. Republic Rep. John Blust voted against. Republican Laura Wiley was absent today – home sick I’m told.
What now? The possibilities are not endless but there are bunches. The minimum wage increase could pass as part of a budget deal, although House leaders have said that they want to keep non-budget items out of the budget this year. The Senate could take a swing at this stand alone bill.
Or, and don’t discount this possibility, the two houses could get all grumpy with one another, grind to a standstill and the minimum wage bill could be a casualty of inter-chamber cultural differences despite support for the measure on both sides of the building.
Rep. Alma Adams and Rep. Larry Womble are two of the few sponsors of the bill in the House. You got to love these folks. They are some good ole' Dems, at least in my eyes. Both, openly and without regret, support the poor and the LGBT community in North Carolina. Rep. Adams is also a HUGE supporter of the students in the UNC System. Rep. Womble is supportive of students, too; His son is a rising junior at Winston-Salem State.
UPDATE (1130:pm 5/25/06) Capital Beat put up an update later today with bill info and audio recordings of the debate. As usual, the Republicans try their little tricks. One Republican tries to say that raising the minimum wage will result in more jobs going to illegal immigrants. Later, near the end, Representative Daughtry from Johnston County proposed an amendment that would raise the minimum wage only for those workers age 21 years and older. Fortunately, the amendment didn't pass. Check it out at Capital Beat; the audio recordings are definitely worth listening to.