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Local minimum-wage bill gets maximum resistance from Republicans

Author: Mark Harden - May 7, 2018 - Updated: May 7, 2018

Sarah Marcogliese, owner of Native Earth Landscaping, tells campaigners for a $12 Colorado minimum wage that 'It's an ethics and business question... $8 an hour is ridiculous.' (Photo by John Tomasic/The Colorado Statesman)A 2016 protest in support of raising the state minimum wage (Photo by John Tomasic/Colorado Politics)

A measure in the Colorado legislature that would have let cities and counties set minimum wages above statewide levels has died in the state Senate’s “kill committee.”

The Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover reports that Democrat-backed House Bill 1368, which passed in the House 36-29 in late April, was blocked in the Republican-controlled Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee by a 3-2 party-line vote Thursday.

The statewide minimum wage currently is set at $10.20 an hour under a constitutional amendment and will rise to $12 an hour in 2020. Bill supporters wanted expensive-to-live-in places like Denver to be able to set a higher minimum to help struggling low-paid workers.

But Tony Gagliardi, head of Colorado’s branch of the National Federation of Business, argued that having different minimum wage levels in different parts of the state would be an administrative nightmare for business with multiple locations.

HB 1368 was sponsored by Reps. Jessie Danielson of Wheat Ridge and Jovan Melton of Aurora.

Two other wage-related measures, also backed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, died last week in the House kill committee:

  • House Bill 1377, which would have barred employers from gathering information about job candidates’ current pay — seen by supporters as a practice that reinforces wage disparity between men and women.
  • House Bill 1378, which would have made employers disclose the pay range for job openings.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.