BOISE — Protesters took to the halls of Idaho Capitol building Monday to urge state lawmakers to increase Idaho’s $7.25 per hour minimum wage.
Idaho AFL-CIO President Aaron White said the estimated 40 protesters — many carrying signs — wanted to encourage Idaho legislators to resurrect House Bill 400, a Democrat-backed measure to raise the Gem State’s minimum wage by $2 per hour by next year.
“We want to encourage our legislators to have a meaningful debate about Idaho’s minimum wage,” White said. “I think they have been neglectful to date on even having a conversation.”
White added: “It has become party politics and it really shouldn’t be. This is an issue that affects low-wage families down to the core.”
The proponents of increasing Idaho’s minimum wage who protested Monday morning at the Idaho Capitol building want Idaho legislators to conduct a public committee hearing for HB400, White said.
Sponsored by House Assistant Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, HB400 seeks to raise the Gem State’s current $7.25 per hour minimum wage to $9.25 per hour by July 1, 2017.
Under the bill’s terms, the current $7.25 per hour Idaho minimum wage would increase to $8.25 per hour July 1.
After its Jan. 29 introduction as an Erpelding personal bill, HB400 was referred Feb. 1 to the House Ways and Means Committee, where the measure has since resided.
Adrienne Evans, executive director of United Vision for Idaho, said that another minimum wage increase rally has been planned for Wednesday morning outside the Idaho House Chambers. Evans said members of the group expect to observe events in the House from the fourth-floor gallery on Wednesday.