Lawmakers propose training wage, lower than minimum wage

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 9:51 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SOURCE) - Floridians may have another minimum wage amendment to vote on in 2022 if a new proposal in the State Capitol is approved.

The proposed amendment would allow the legislature to set a training wage below the minimum wage.

The ink is barely dry on the $15 minimum wage amendment voters overwhelmingly approved in November.

Under the minimum wage amendment passed last year, the state’s minimum wage will rise to $10 an hour this September and by an additional dollar each year until reaching $15 in 2026.

Now lawmakers are already looking to walk it back.

“The rising minimum wage is going to have an impact on teen workers. It’s going to have an impact on those with low skills,” said State Senator Jeff Brandes.

Brandes is sponsoring the new wage amendment.

It would allow the Legislature to set a lower training wage, for what he describes as hard to hire employees.

“And we’re trying to make sure that the employers aren’t putting those on the bottom of the pile, but are strongly considering those,” said Brandes.

It would apply to prisoners, people with felony convictions and Floridians aged 21 and younger.

“Those populations generally have an unemployment rate of around 25 to 30 percent, which is five or six times the state average unemployment rate,” said Brandes.

It immediately got pushback from Attorney John Morgan, who pushed the $15 minimum wage amendment.

In a tweet he suggested it would disproportionately affect people of color and promote child labor abuse.

“This is exactly what the Republicans were gonna try to do,” said Agriculture Nikki Fried, the state’s top-elected Democrat.

Fried condemned the effort.

“Senator Brandes’ proposal is not what’s in the best interest for the citizens of our state considering we just passed this amendment,” said Fried.

There is no house sponsor for the training wage amendment, which makes its future uncertain.

Even if the training wage amendment passes through the legislature with the required 3/5′s vote, it would still need at least 60 percent voter approval to become part of state constitution.

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