Bill to re-establish N.H.’s minimum wage tabled in Senate
A bill that would re-establish New Hampshire’s minimum wage was tabled yesterday in the Senate, while several similar pieces of legislation are pending in the House.
“There were some other issues before the Senate today, that we just felt we’ll have the debate at a later date,” said Sen. Donna Soucy, a Manchester Democrat and prime sponsor of the Senate bill.
The state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour was eliminated in 2011 by the then-Republican-led Legislature. Soucy’s bill, which was sponsored by all 11 Democratic senators, would have re-established a $7.25 state minimum wage, the same level as the federal minimum wage.
“New Hampshire has had a minimum wage law since 1949. . . . I think New Hampshire should always have a New Hampshire solution,” Soucy said.
The Senate, where Republicans hold a 13-11 majority, tabled the bill on a voice vote during yesterday’s session.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican, said states with high minimum wages tend to have higher unemployment rates, too.
“When Senate Republicans voted to repeal the New Hampshire specific minimum wage in 2011 we did so with job growth in mind,” he said in a statement. “Today’s bipartisan vote reaffirms the principle behind that decision.”
There are three bills pending in the House that also deal with the minimum wage.
One would establish a state minimum wage of $8 an hour and peg biennial increases to the rate of inflation. The House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee voted, 19-1, Tuesday to recommend the full House kill the bill.
A second bill would establish a minimum wage of $9.25 an hour. The committee recommended killing it, also on a 19-1 vote.
The third bill was introduced by Rep. Timothy Horrigan, a Durham Democrat. It would have established a state minimum wage of $8.25 an hour, but was amended by the labor committee to instead set the state minimum at $7.25.
That bill was endorsed on a 15-5 vote and is headed to the House floor for a vote.
Soucy said she expects the Senate will have “a more protected debate” on the legislation if it passes the House, where Democrats hold a majority.
In any case, Bradley indicated yesterday there’s little appetite among Senate Republicans for any bill that would actually increase the minimum wage in the state.
“We’ll deal with the bills that come over from the House,” Bradley told
reporters, adding, “I think there are certainly going to be 13 votes against raising the minimum wage in New Hampshire.”
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
email@example.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)