minimum wage

johnson county building
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Johnson County officials say they will not sue the state over its preemption of local minimum wage increases.

County Board of Supervisors Chair Janelle Rettig says that decision came after the county attorney looked into options for legal action.

“At this point on minimum wage, we do not see where we have standing to sue. But the other parts of the bill—there may or may not be problems with those that we would want to pursue,” says Rettig. 

laura taylor of woofables
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa’s minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour in all counties. Gov. Branstad has signed a bill maintaining that wage level and barring any county or local government from setting a higher minimum.

Five counties have already done that, including Johnson County, which has the highest minimum wage in the state. But the new law does not necessarily mean workers who have recently gotten raises will be taking a pay cut.

Laura Taylor is the owner of Woofables, a gourmet dog treat bakery in Coralville.

johnson county building
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A Johnson County supervisor said he is disappointed in the Legislature’s decision to pass a bill prohibiting local governments from setting their own minimum wages.  

Johnson County has the highest minimum wage in the state at $10.10. It would be set back to $7.25 if Gov. Terry Branstad signs the preemption bill into law.

Johnson County Supervisor Rod Sullivan said he thinks it is a mistake for the state to “usurp local control.”

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A bill to bring the minimum wage down in counties that have raised it won final legislative approval in the Republican-controlled Iowa Senate last night.  

It will now be up to Governor Branstad to sign the bill rescinding the higher wages in effect in Polk, Linn, Johnson, and Wapello Counties, where the wage is now higher than the statewide minimum of $7.25 an hour.      

Republicans complained the current trend creates a hodge-podge of varying wages.   

“This bill creates certainty, predictability, and consistency,” said Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull).   

keokuk, iowa
WIKICOMMONS / Billwhittaker

The Lee County Board of Supervisors will consider an ordinance Tuesday that would raise the county’s minimum wage to $8.20.

Meanwhile, a bill working its way through the Iowa Legislature would prohibit minimum wage increases by local governments. The Iowa House of Representatives passed the bill on to the Senate last week.

Handi Lutfi speaks at minimum wage rally
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A crowd gathered in downtown Iowa City Wednesday to protest a bill that would reverse minimum wage increases in four Iowa counties.

Protesters chanted, “Can’t survive on $7.25,” because the minimum wage would be set back to the federal and state level of $7.25. Johnson County’s minimum wage is currently $10.10 an hour.

Handi Lutfi said when Johnson County raised its minimum wage, her family’s income was brought above the poverty line.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Opponents of a bill banning a higher minimum wage which is working its way through the Iowa House far outnumbered supporters at a public hearing at the statehouse last night.    

The bill would rescind minimum wages approved in Polk, Linn, Johnson, and Wapello Counties that are higher than the statewide wage of $7.25 an hour. 

Low-income Iowans and their advocates, religious groups, child advocacy groups, and students all spoke out against the bill and in favor of a higher minimum wage.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The top Republican in the Iowa House is downplaying concerns about a bill that advanced this week to throw out higher minimum wage laws currently in effect in four Iowa counties.  

The bill would mandate the same $7.25 minimum wage statewide, so higher wages approved in Polk, Linn, Johnson and Wapello counties would be repealed.  

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) says that doesn’t mean wages in those communities will automatically go down.

Flickr / Brad Covington

Some local governments are opposing legislation in the Republican-controlled Iowa house that would stop cities and counties from setting an hourly wage that’s higher than the state minimumIf the legislation becomes law this would lower the hourly wages in Johnson, Linn, Polk and Wapello counties.   

Since 2008, Iowa’s minimum wage has been $7.25, which is also the federal minimum. Many argue in 2017 that’s not enough.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The new Republican president of the Iowa Senate says his party is discussing a new statewide minimum wage law after some Iowa cities and counties acted independently to increase their minimum wage.     

The statewide wage was last raised in 2007 to $7.25 an hour when Democrats controlled the legislature and the governor’s office.     

Senate President Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) says lawmakers are hearing concerns that the wage is now different, depending on which county or city you live in.

WonderWhy/flickr

Governor Branstad says a higher minimum wage in some parts of the state but not others is causing problems for businesses and local governments.   

He says he’ll work with the legislature to try to agree on a higher statewide minimum wage.

Linn, Polk, Wapello, and Johnson Counties have approved a higher countywide minimum wage.    But not all towns in those counties have gone along.  

Also, the governor says, some cities straddle county lines.  

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Linn County’s minimum wage increases to $8.25 an hour on January 1, and a dollar-an-hour more on each of the following two New Year’s Days. But municipalities may not follow, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city.

On a 4-1 vote, Linn’s Board of Supervisors approved the third reading of the ordinance incrementally raising the wage floor to three dollars above current Iowa law by 2019.

Linn County supervisors have approved the first reading of an ordinance raising the minimum wage above state law.  It’s an action that involves Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city.

Linn’s ordinance hikes the wage minimum by a dollar an hour to $8.25 on January 1, 2017.  There would also be increased on the two following New Year’s Days, to $10.25 in 2019.

Supervisor John Harris objected to the built-in future increases, and voted no.

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller chided the supervisors for having no plan to enforce the ordinance.

Linn County’s Board of Supervisors wants more information before deciding whether to raise the minimum wage in Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities.

That’s after the supervisors study committee recommended $8.25-an-hour, a dollar more than state law requires, but a dollar less than neighboring Johnson County.

Cedar Rapids mayor, Republican Ron Corbett, says the committee’s $8.25 recommendation is palatable, but warned that delays invited power struggles. But supervisors chairman, Democrat Ben Rogers, says ‘not so fast’.

A Linn County study commission is recommending increasing the county’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour by January 1st.

The county board of supervisors convened the study commission. Linn Supervisors chairman Ben Rogers says he’ll take the commission’s recommendation to the supervisors’ meeting tomorrow.

The study commission supports Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett’s motion for increasing Linn County’s minimum wage. Corbett says it’s needed to help workers and to prod Iowa legislators.

Linn County’s Supervisors are considering possibly raising the minimum wage in the region including Iowa’s second largest city, and have formed a study committee. Supervisors’ Chairman Ben Rogers says Linn County will thoroughly study increasing the Cedar Rapids area minimum wage.

“Many of us feel, like providers and community groups, felt that Johnson County rushed their discussion and implementation of the minimum wage,” he says.

Linn’s study committee includes small and large businesses, and hasn’t met yet.  Rogers says it could even recommend wage increase exemptions.

PeteLinforth/Pixabay.com

Johnson County’s experiment setting a county minimum wage above the state’s $7.25 an hour produced another version last night.

Tiffin’s city council gave first reading to an ordinance setting wage minimums at $9 an hour.

The only ‘no’ vote came from council-woman Jo Kahler.

“I do not feel we have any business telling businesses what they should pay in wages,” she said in an interview on Tuesday.

Until Tiffin gives final approval to its own $9 ordinance, the Johnson County supervisors’ $8.20 an hour prevails.

A member of Iowa’s Board of Regents says Johnson County’s raising of the minimum wage is “out of step with the rest of Iowa”.

Johnson County is incrementally raising the wages to at least $10.10 an hour by 2017, action taken by the County Board of Supervisors.

At today’s Regents meeting in Ames, Regent Larry McKibben of Marshalltown said he’ll oppose extending that to the University of Iowa campus.

“I’m working hard to reduce debt of families and children, and we can’t be an outlier vis-a-vis the other two universities, and I want an answer to that,” he said.

Linn County’s Board of Supervisors is exploring increasing the minimum wage.  The county is home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city.   The minimum wage next door in Johnson County is already 95-cents higher than the state’s $7.25 an hour, and will go to ten dollars an hour two years from now.

Linn Supervisors Board chairman, Ben Rogers, says a possible increase in the county will be studied carefully and methodically.