For Immediate Release: March 1, 2018
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 | firstname.lastname@example.org
House Committee Rejects Bills to Give Hard-working Utah Families a Living Wage, Again
SALT LAKE CITY - Today the House Business and Labor Committee voted against two bills that attempted to address living wage concerns for Utahns.
The committee voted 12 to 2 against HB 117, “Hourly Wage Increase Amendments.” The bill would have raised the minimum wage in Utah from $7.25 to $10.25. The bill would also increase the minimum wage on July 1, 2020 to $12.00. The bill was originally proposed by Rep. Lynn Hemingway; however, because of a family emergency that has caused him to miss the past several weeks of the session, Rep. Brian King is serving as the House sponsor.
“Increasing the hourly wage is necessary to provide stability and security for hard-working families. It also ensures that the wealth created by our unprecedented growth in Utah will be shared fairly,” said Rep. King. “The legislature talks of wanting to reduce entitlement programs and shrink the size and scope of the government. But when we allow employers to deny families financial independence, it is ultimately the state who is forced to step in and subsidize those employers who keep profits from their employees.”
The original sponsor, Rep. Hemingway who has run similar legislation the past 5 years, said, “We are long overdue for an update to our hourly wage. Twenty-nine other states have raised their minimum wage, increasing the effectiveness and productivity of their economies. Utahns deserve to know that their most basic needs will be taken care of though their work, and that they will not have to rely on the state in times of trouble.”
The committee also voted 10 to 2 against HB 118, “Cash Wage Obligation Minimum for Tipped Employees.” The bill would have raised the hourly wage for tipped employees in Utah from $2.13 to $3.25.
“We aren’t getting rid of tips in Utah,” said Rep. King. “We are simply increasing the bare minimum that tipped employees receive for their labor. This shouldn’t be controversial. Working Utahns should not be dependent on the circumstantial number of customers they serve on a given day and their generosity.”