Legislative Roundup: House Committee Votes Down Increase to Minimum Wage

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Mar. 11, 2013 12:00 am  

David Johnson

The state’s minimum wage will not increase, at least not this year, according to the 89th General Assembly.

The House Public Health Committee last week voted down a proposal by Rep. Butch Wilkins, D-Bono, that would’ve raised the state’s minimum hourly wage by $2 from $6.25 to $8.25. (The federal minimum is $7.25.)

The vote on the majority Democrat committee was 10-6 against. Organizations opposing the measure included the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Hospitality Association.

Meanwhile, the Legislature is considering bills that would create energy improvement districts and fund asbestos grants.

Abortion and voter ID bills remained on the legislative front burner as well while lawmakers positioned themselves for the coming debate over Medicaid expansion.

PACE Initiative

Senate Bill 640, the Property Accessed Clean Energy Act (PACE Initiative), would authorize the establishment of energy improvement districts to fund loans for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water improvement projects.

The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, advocating on behalf of the bill, says the measure will increase property values, reduce energy costs and create jobs.

Proponents believe the measure will serve as a voluntary financing option for energy improvements to existing commercial buildings, will create new jobs in the energy efficiency industry, and will allow property owners to reduce energy costs.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. David Johnson, D-Little Rock, has bipartisan support with Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, and Rep. Jonathan Barnett, R-Siloam Springs, among the 10 co-sponsors. It was scheduled to be heard on Friday in the Senate State Agencies & Governmental Affairs Committee.

Asbestos Abatement

Business leaders came out last week against Senate Bill 410 concerning asbestos abatement.



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