Texas lawmakers, strongly backed by Texas AFT and other affiliates of the Texas AFL-CIO, are pushing to increase the minimum wage for Texans in all walks of life with a bevy of bills filed in the 2017 legislative session that began January 10. The drive to raise Texans’ pay is the focus of a Texas AFL-CIO press conference at the Capitol set for January 12 with some of those legislators and also the focus of a new webpage we commend to your attention: http://www.raisetexaswages.org/.
Bills to raise minimum pay filed so far include the following:
- HB 285 by Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, ($15 an hour minimum wage);
- HB 475 by Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City ($15 an hour);
- SB 229 by Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio ($10.10 an hour);
- SJR 22 by Menéndez ($10.10 an hour, proposed for the Texas Constitution);
- and HB 840 by Rep. Lina Ortega, D-El Paso (and its companion, SB 427 by Sen. José Rodriguez, D-El Paso), which would restore the ability of cities and counties to consider higher minimum wages within their jurisdictions.
Other minimum-wage bills filed Wednesday include HB 937 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston ($10.10 an hour), and HB 924 and HJR 56 by Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington ($10.10 an hour). Other wage-related bills that would help low-income Texans, including a measure by Rep. Justin Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, are pending.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages that are higher than the federal floor of $7.25 an hour.