This Proposed Arizona Law Would Take Away Wage Increase From Employees Younger Than 22 Years Old

Published: Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 12:22pm
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 1:55pm
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In 2016, voters approved a new, higher minimum wage by a 2-1 margin, but Arizona House Republicans are now arguing voters only approved wage hikes for families and not for youth. They’re proposing a new law that would exempt those younger than 22 years old from the wage hike.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Travis Grantham of Gilbert, would allow employers to pay only the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to younger employees.

He argued his position on the House floor Wednesday, saying this will work to lower the 12 percent youth unemployment rate.

"Because, I know as an employer, and I know many of you as employers who are in this room, and some of you are still going to speak on this, often have to double up tasks for employees who are now making the new state minimum wage because we can't afford to hire the lower minimum wage people to do some of the menial tasks around the building," Grantham said.

But the bill received pushback from representatives who said people younger than 22 actually might have families of their own or work to help pay their family’s expenses. Democratic Rep. Raquel Teran spoke in opposition. Her district’s average income is around $29,000 annually.

"So when we're talking about these youth who are full-time students and who are working, they're not just working for experience or to be an apprentice. They're working for survival. They're working to provide the basic needs for themselves and their families," she said.

To talk about this battle in the legislature, as well as a few of the other big stories from the state Capitol right now, Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services joined The Show.

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