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Monday, January 6, 2020, 7:35 AM

Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, has filed legislation to increase Oklahoman’s minimum wage requirement.

Senate Bill 1165 would require employers to pay their employees a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour, or match the federal minimum wage rate, whichever is greater. Oklahoma’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which is equal to the federal minimum wage.

“The spending power of a minimum wage paycheck has been significantly reduced since the last minimum wage raise more than a decade ago,” Young said, noting the last minimum wage increase in Oklahoma was in 2008 when the rate increased from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.

Thirty-one states have a minimum wage requirement higher than the federal minimum, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. While Texas and Kansas match Oklahoma’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage, Missouri’s minimum wage rate is $8.60 per hour and Arkansas’ minimum wage rate is $10 per hour. Both states have plans to further increase their rates in the coming years.

“Oklahomans deserve to be paid fairly so they can offset the rising costs of healthcare, housing and food,” Young said. “Closing the wage gap between the poverty line and middle class would have a tremendous impact on our economy by increasing consumer spending and generating more tax revenue for our municipalities and state.”

For more information, contact Young at 405-521-5531, or email George.young@oksenate.gov.

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