The House of Representatives defeated a second bill by Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum to rollback the voter-approved minimum wage increase as it pertains to businesses with fewer than 25 employees, nonprofits with less than $1 million operating budgets, and nonprofits that serve the disabled. The vote was 29-45, with nine voting
Lundstrum’s HB 1752 would freeze the minimum wage at $9.25 and exempt thousands of workers from planned raised to $11 in two steps by 2021.
She emphasized the $9.25 will stay in place. She emphasized the harm a higher wage will do to fee-for-service providers of developmental services for the disabled. The greater impact will be the hundreds of small businesses with tens of thousands of employees. She noted, too, that another bill by Rep. Reginald Murdock allows for a change in Medicaid reimbursement rates to provide funding to cover employees at the minimum wage level.
Lundstrum said it was the legislature’s duty to provide solutions for “unintended consequences. “
Rep. Charles Blake and Rep. John Walker, both Little Rock Democrats, emphasized that the voters had spoken on this issue. “Let’s continue to do the will of the people,” Blake said. “Not get here three or four months later change what they wanted.”
Lundstrum countered, “We are the checks and balances for the people of Arkansas.”