The Richmond Register

Local News

February 10, 2014

Four who voted for wage hike earn GOP's ire

FRANKFORT — Although it won’t likely pass the Republican controlled Senate, a bill to raise Kentucky’s minimum wage that passed the Democrat-controlled House last week is already having a political impact.

Four House Republicans voted for the measure – and their leadership is none too pleased with them.

Meanwhile, some Republicans are also angry about some legislative sleight of hand by Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, who appears to have oiled the tracks for the bill’s passage.

Stumbo sponsored House Bill 1 that would raise the minimum wage in Kentucky from the present $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over three years. It passed the House last Thursday, 54-44. Two Democrats voted against the bill and four Republicans voted for it.

Republicans charge the bill is a “job killer” and nothing more than a political maneuver to bolster Democrats’ chances of holding onto control of the House in this year’s election and to help Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Grimes has called for an identical increase in the federal minimum wage and hammered incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell for opposing such an increase.

But House Republicans Jill York, Grayson; C.B. Embry, Morgantown; Dwight Butler, Harned; and Jim Stewart, Flat Lick, voted for the bill. CNHI was unable to contact Stewart, but each of the other three said their votes reflected the views of their district.

“But leadership has told me they were less than pleased with my vote,” York said Monday. Embry said the same thing.

“I voted my district,” Embry said. “My emails, faxes and phone calls were two to one in favor of the bill. My leadership, though, they weren’t too happy.”

House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, acknowledged, “There were people (in the Republican caucus) who were upset.” But he said no retribution was meted out to the four.

“There haven’t been any committee changes,” Hoover said.

“Now there are some internal caucus committees we’ve been looking at changes to,” Hoover said. He declined to say what those might be.

York, vice chair of the Education Committee, and Butler, vice chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, are responsible for keeping the Republican caucus informed about those areas and seen as authorities on their respective committees. Neither York nor Butler would say if either anticipated that changing.

Butler isn’t running for re-election while Embry is running for a Senate seat rather than his House seat.

Rep. Fitz Steele, D-Hazard, said Monday he hadn’t been punished by Democrat leadership for his no vote. Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, was absent Monday and CNHI couldn’t reach him for comment.

Some who voted against the measure may have had second thoughts by Monday. The Bluegrass Poll – conducted on behalf of The Courier-Journal, Lexington Herald Leader, WHAS-TV and WLKY-TV – released results Monday that indicate Kentucky voters favor the increase by a 2-1 margin.

It found 79 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents and 45 percent of Republicans favor increasing the minimum wage.

“I’m surprised the polling numbers weren’t higher when you look at the polling questions,” Hoover said.

“But the other side is there are lot of ramifications (to raising the wage) that people don’t realize, like unfunded mandates on local governments, unfunded mandates on schools, and the obvious impact on unemployment,” Hoover said.

(Both sides cite competing studies which show different impacts on employment of raising the minimum wage.)

Hoover was also unhappy about a parliamentary procedure Stumbo employed to help pass his bill.

Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, had filed an amendment to HB 1 to repeal the requirement that publicly funded construction for education pay the area’s “prevailing wage.” Stumbo subsequently filed a separate bill, HB 348, with essentially identical language to that in DeCesare’s amendment.

Under House Rule 60, if an amendment to a bill contains “substantially” the same language as another bill, the chair can rule it out of order as a “piggyback,” a term for placing another bill onto one which is more likely to pass. It would take a majority vote of the House to overrule the chair.

DeCesare didn’t call for his amendment during debate on the minimum wage bill. But after the House passed the minimum wage bill, Stumbo withdrew HB 348.

Some Republicans hinted Stumbo used the provision to trade for yes votes on his minimum wage bill but Stumbo laughed at that. He said House members know the measure is popular among voters.

As for using the bill to outmaneuver DeCesare’s prevailing wage amendment, Stumbo laughed.

“It was a good bill – for a day, and it did its job,” he said.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-23 Gravestone.jpg In search of the last resting place

    At a popular illegal dump site off Bybee Loop in Waco, two marble grave markers were among some items found there by Pat and Ronnie Aldridge, residents who live about 250 yards from the area.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fiscal court awards EMA bids

    Two more bids were awarded at Tuesday’s Madison County Fiscal Court meeting for the emergency operations agency.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Peter Crowe.jpg Intoxicated man charged with wanton endangerment

    A 27-year-old Richmond man was charged Sunday with second-degree wanton endangerment after he was found intoxicated and walking with several young children in the Keystone Drive area, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Absentee voting available for May 20 election

    Walk-in absentee voting for the May 20 primary has begun and will continue until May 19, County Clerk Kenny Barger announced Tuesday at the Madison Fiscal Court meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Tab-a-PULLooza1.jpg Friday last day to collect pop tabs for Tab-a-Pullooza

    Before throwing that soda can in the recycling bin, twist off the pop tab and donate it to a local elementary or middle school for this year’s Tab-a-Pullooza celebration.

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Pot throwing downtown leads to arrest

    A Berea man was arrested Saturday after police say he damaged a downtown Richmond business and a parked vehicle by throwing flower pots.
    Jonathan A. McCullough, 34, was charged with first- and third-degree criminal mischief as well as alcohol intoxication, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 21, 2014

  • London police chief ordered to stay away from Berea woman

    A woman who who moved to Berea in February 2013 after a live-in relationship with London Police Chief Stewart O. Walker has obtained an emergency protective order against him from Madison Family Court.

    April 21, 2014

  • Task force reveals plan to make ‘Meaningful Math' matter

    It’s all too common to hear parents say, “I was never good at math...,” as if to excuse their children for not being good at math, said Madison County Schools Superintendent Elmer Thomas.

    April 21, 2014

  • WP_20140419_001.jpg Cruisin’ with the Oldies

    With the sound of classic songs wafting through the air Saturday, hundreds of people took advantage of the summer-like temperatures and turned out for the Kirksville Community Center car show.

    April 21, 2014 9 Photos

  • 4-18 Hong Kong 1.JPG Hong Kong fifth-graders visit Kit Carson

    A group of students from Hong Kong got a taste of the bluegrass last week thanks to an invitational education program at Kit Carson Elementary School.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results