Bill would repeal minimum wage inflation proofing

Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) House Rules Committee Chairman Norm Rokeberg wants to repeal the requirement that Alaska's minimum wage rise with the consumer price index.

The inflation-proofing requirement was part of a bill lawmakers approved last year that raised Alaska's minimum wage from $5.65 an hour to $7.15 an hour.

Rokeberg, an Anchorage Republican, introduced a bill last week to repeal the inflation-proofing provision. He said it could hurt small businesses and hurt the economy.

The Legislature approved the minimum wage bill last year, partly because organized labor activists had already gathered enough signatures to put the proposal on the ballot. By passing the measure, lawmakers kept the measure off the ballot.

If the wage increase bill had been approved by voters, rather than the Legislature, lawmakers would have been prohibited from altering it substantially for two years.

House Speaker Pete Kott, R-Eagle River, told legislators last year it would be better to approve the bill themselves, so they could come back this year and change it if they wanted to.

House Bill 199 was referred to the House Labor and Commerce and Finance committees. It has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

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