Idaho Senate Approves Bill Stripping Minimum Wage Authority From Local Governments 

click to enlarge KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes

The Idaho Senate cleared the way Thursday afternoon for a measure barring cities and counties from setting their own minimum wages, sending the bill to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for his signature.

The Senate voted 27-8 to approve House Bill 463. The bill already passed through the Idaho House 55-14.

"We don't want to end up with a city or county facing litigation with a business after they pass their own minimum wage law," said sponsor Sen. Jim Rice (R-Caldwell). "That's all this is about."

Democrats argued the bill represented much more.

"I personally believe we should be looking at the minimum wage. It is a state issue and I look forward to that discussion in the near future," said Sen. Maryanne Jordan (D-Boise). "But what is supposed to happen when a political subdivision decides to set a living wage for its employees in order to retain its best talent?"

Minority Leader Sen. Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum) insisted "one flat wage does not serve all of us."

"This current formula will never allow us to keep our best and brightest," said Stennett, just before voting no.

Meanwhile, Rice argued, "Patchwork on minimum wage can cause real problems."

The city of McCall in 2015 narrowly missed passage of its own minimum wage initiative. Proponents say any chance of revisiting the issue is now all but gone.
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