Kentucky Democrats introduce minimum wage bill

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) -- For some Kentuckians, financial relief may be on its way.

“There's not a lot of jobs and the jobs that are here, they aren't great paying jobs,” Boyd County teacher Kathy Cook said.

Rep. Kathy Hinkle (D-Louisa) is leading Democratic lawmakers in Frankfort by sponsoring a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2027, with incremental increases until then.

The legislation, in part, is one of the main goals of Governor Andy Beshear, who made wages one of his talking points in last week's State of the Commonwealth address.

“There are far too many Kentucky moms and dads working two, three, four jobs just to try to scrape together the monthly budget, all while their bills go up but their wages stay the same,” Beshear said at the address.

The wage increase would be the first for Kentucky since 2009 and while some are thrilled at the idea of an increase in pay, others fear that a wage increase would just increase prices.

“Prices are rising anyways,” Cook said. “Without minimum wage going up, the prices are being raised anyway so why not put a little more money in people's back pocket. [Because] we see the rising cost anyway.”

If the bill passes, the minimum wage would go from the current $7.25 per hour to $8.20 per hour this summer with increases of around a dollar every year until hitting $15 in 2027.

The minimum wage bill has been introduced to the Kentucky House of Representatives and is now in the House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee.