On Monday, Feb. 25, local elected officials, employers, workers, and advocates will hold a press conference in support of the Local Wage Option bill – sponsored by Rep. Rochelle Galindo, Rep. Jovan Melton, Sen. Jessie Danielson and Sen. Dominick Moreno – to restore local control for city and county officials in adjusting their own minimum wage.
Robel Worku, Economic Justice Organizer at Colorado People’s Alliance says the bill would invalidate a 1999 law that tied local elected official’s hands in setting wage policy.
“Colorado passed a statute that a statute that essentially set one minimum wage for the entire state and stripped that authority from local governments to be able to control that.”
In 2016 COPA co-shared a coalition that helped get the minimum wage in Colorado raised to 12 dollars an hour by 2020 through an initiative that year during the election. “And in the course of that campaign we recognized that 12 dollars is what was winnable that year in 2016 but certainly wasn’t enough for communities that needed a boost. So coming out of that campaign we realized the next step. It would probably be incredibly difficult and probably unfeasible to go back statewide to raise the minimum wage again, so we started to explore what are our options for boosting the minimum wage at the local level.”
The bill was introduced in 2015, and with the help of COPA managed to pass through the house, but didn’t make it far through the senate. The bill is being reintroduced on the 25th of February. The bill simply grants local governments the authority to raise their minimum wage, but doesn’t raise the minimum wage itself whatsoever.