Democrats in the state Legislature say they plan to force a vote on Tuesday on increasing Wisconsin’s minimum wage.
In Green Bay on Monday, Reps. Eric Genrich of Green Bay and Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh said it’s important for voters to know where their elected officials stand on the proposal, which would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour over time.
Bills have been introduced in both the Senate and the Assembly, which are both controlled by the Republicans. Gov. Scott Walker has said he opposes an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10/hour.
“There has been more rhetoric than results,” Hintz said. “Governor Walker says the most urgent matter is to pass another voter-suppression bill.”
The Republican governor last week said he would call lawmakers into a special session to modify the state’s voter photo-identification requirements if courts don’t uphold the current measure, which has been blocked since shortly after he signed it into law in 2011. The state Supreme Court is considering the issue, but it’s unclear when the justices will rule.
An Assembly Republican said the plan to force a vote was political “grandstanding” by the legislative minority.
“They’re not doing this at a point in the session where anything is going to happen” with the bills, said Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere. He said he worries that boosting the minimum wage could prompt job cuts as businessessee costs rise, thereby harming those it is intended to help.
Genrich acknowledged that Democrats likely don’t have the votes to get the bills passed in this session, which is scheduled to end April 1.
Genrich and Hintz spoke at the Brown County Courthouse with Assembly candidate Dan Robinson of De Pere as well as representatives of the advocacy group Wisconsin Citizen Action.
“With work comes dignity,” said Carolyn Castore, an organizer with Wisconsin Citizen Action. “Dignity comes with being able to provide for one’s family.”
Doug Schneider writes for Press-Gazette Media, Green Bay