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Washington House Speaker: Minimum Wage Hike Not Ready For Vote

Washington Legislature
Washington Speaker of the House Frank Chopp

Washington Speaker of the House Frank Chopp supports a minimum wage hike, but he says the issue wasn’t ready for a vote on the House floor this year.

The Democrat made his comments Friday in a rare meeting with the capitol press corps.

“I think it was important to start the conversation and have a good discussion and figure out where there’s consensus over moving forward because if you’re working you shouldn’t be poor,” said Chopp.

House Democrats this year introduced a measure to raise Washington’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2017, but it did not pass out of the House budget committee.

Chopp acknowledged concerns about the impact to small businesses. He notes that while the minimum wage proposal died, House Democrats this year did pass a paid sick leave measure. It’s fate in the mostly Republican controlled Washington Senate is unclear.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."