The man who’ll be the top leader in the Iowa House in 2007 says the first order of business when the Iowa Legislature convenes in January will be raising the minimum wage. House Speaker-Elect Pat Murphy of Dubuque says he and other Democrats promised voters they’d raise the minimum wage if Democrats won a majority of seats in the legislature.
“You’ll see the minimum wage as probably one of the first bills if not the first in both the House and Senate that we’ll be taking up,” Murphy says. “We’re going to be looking at raising it to $7.25 an hour.” That hike, according to Murphy, would be phased in over two years.
Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Democrat from Des Moines who is the House Majority Leader-Elect, says some statehouse Republicans have indicated to him that they’d vote to raise the minimum wage, too, so the issue is among the first lawmakers will deal with in 2007.
“I’m fairly confident that’s going to happen right away,” McCarthy says. Iowa law currently requires a minimum wage of five-dollars-and-15 ($5.15) cents an hour, set in 1990. The neighboring states of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota have minimum wage rates that are higher than Iowa’s while South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri are at the national minimum wage rate which is also five-15 ($5.15) an hour.
Murphy and McCarthy made their comments during taping of the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” which airs tonight at 7:30.