LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—More than two-thirds of Arkansas voters last November approved a law that will raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.50 an hour to $11—but now, a state legislator wants to lower it to $7.25 for thousands of workers. State Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) introduced a bill Jan. 16 that would make workers ineligible for the state’s minimum if they’re under 18 or employed at an educational institution, nonprofit organization, or a business with less than 50 employees. They’d get only the $7.25 federal minimum. “I totally get the people voted,” Ballinger told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “They didn’t want to make it where if a business wants to take a chance on a 16-year-old kid, they have to pay him $11 an hour.” Voters, Rep. Nicole Clowney (D-Fayetteville) responded, intended the increase “for all Arkansas workers, including, for instance, the aides in our children’s kindergarten classrooms.” Republicans have enough of a margin to pass the bill on a party-line vote with the two-thirds majority needed to amend a state law enacted by initiative. “Surely there are nine or 10 Republicans out there who would vote against this,” said David Couch of Arkansans for a Fair Wage. Read more


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