Florida Democrat wants to raise state minimum wage

CD Davidson-Hiers/Florida Phoenix

Proposals by Florida Democrats to raise the minimum wage have gone nowhere in recent years in the Republican-led Legislature, so state Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez from Miami-Dade is trying a different approach.

The South Florida Democrat filed legislation on Monday that would mandate that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity calculate the increase in the minimum wage by the rate of inflation for the prior year, and then add 80 cents to it until 2028.

Currently the state’s minimum wage is $8.46 an hour. That would rise to $9.26 an hour under the proposal. If passed this year, it would go up by 80 cents this September, and every September until 2027, getting to $15 an hour.

The measure is a more incremental way to get to $15 an hour wage. Previous Democratic efforts have gone nowhere.

Meanwhile a group calling itself “Floridians for a Fair Wage” is currently gathering signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot that would give voters the chance to raise the minimum wage incrementally to $15 an hour.

The measure is being led by Orlando attorney and activist John Morgan. It calls for raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour by  October of 2021, and then increasing it by an additional one dollar until it reaches $15 an hour by 2026.

In 2004, 71 percent of Floridians approved a constitutional amendment raising the minimum wage from the federal rate of $5.15 an hour to $6.15 an hour, indexed for inflation each year.

Yet Florida law prohibits any local government from raising its minimum wage. Florida courts rejected a push by the city of Miami Beach to challenge that law, and the state Supreme Court recently announced it would not review the city’s appeal.

A Public Policy Polling survey from a year ago showed that 67 percent of Floridians disagree with the law that keeps local governments from raising the minimum wage.
The federal minimum wage is currently at $7.25 an hour, a rate that hasn’t changed in a decade.
Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.


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