Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom has proposed increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Before the higher wage could take effect, it would first have to pass both houses of the legislature and go before the Nevada voters in 2018.
The change in minimum wage would require a change in the state’s constitution, since the minimum wage rate has been included in the Nevada constitution begining in 2006. Currently, the rate is set at one dollar higher than the federal rate, putting Nevada’s rate at $8.25 an hour. Arizona’s minimum wage is $7.90, California’s is $9.00 and New Mexico’s is $7.50. The state with the highest minimum wage is Washington at $9.32.
Segerblom’s initiative was announced prior to last week’s fast food worker strikes, a labor movement which seeks, among other demands, a wage increase to $15 an hour.
In cities around the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Detroit, workers were arrested while protesting. In Las Vegas, 10 protesters were cited for failure to walk on the sidewalk, then released. These latest protests, which are funded by the Service Employees International Union, were the seventh time in two years that fast food workers walked out.
Last weekend in Slate, economics writer Jordan Weissman called the strikes “the most successful American labor push in recent memory.”
Consider the numbers. Over roughly the last two years, 13 states have increased their minimum wage, as have 10 city and county governments, according to a tally by NBC News. Seattle voted to raise its citywide minimum to $15 an hour by 2018; San Francisco residents will vote on whether to do the same in November. The mayors of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have all backed a $13 wage floor. The President has come out in favor of a $10.10 national minimum. And just in case you were looking for a rough barometer of overall public interest in the issue, even Google searches for the phrase “minimum wage” have been consistently more common since the start of 2013. You don’t have to think a $15 minimum wage is a brilliant idea (personally, I don’t) to admire the efficacy of the effort.
Not everyone in Las Vegas is on board with increasing the minimum wage. On her Facebook page, conservative radio host Heidi Harris wrote: “$15 an hour to drop fries in a basket into grease, and take them out when the buzzer goes off. Sure, why not?”
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