Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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February 10, 2014

York among 4 House Republicans catching heat over minimum wage vote

FRANKFORT — Although it won’t likely pass the Republican controlled Senate, a bill to raise Kentucky’s minimum wage which passed the Democrat-controlled House last week is already having a political impact.

Four House Republicans voted for the measure – and their leadership is none too pleased with them.

Meanwhile, some Republicans are also angry about some legislative sleight of hand by Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, who appears to have oiled the tracks for the bill’s passage.

Stumbo sponsored House Bill 1 that would raise the minimum wage in Kentucky from the present $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over three years. It passed the House last Thursday 54-44. Two Democrats voted against the bill and four Republicans voted for the measure.

Republicans charge the bill is a “job killer” and nothing more than a political maneuver to bolster Democrats’ chances of holding onto control of the House in this year’s election and to help Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Grimes has called for an identical increase in the federal minimum wage and hammered incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell for opposing such an increase.

But House Republicans Jill York, Grayson; C.B. Embry, Morgantown; Dwight Butler, Harned; and Jim Stewart, Flat Lick, voted for the bill. CNHI was unable to contact Stewart, but each of the other three said their votes reflected the views of their district.

“But leadership has told me they were less than pleased with my vote,” York said Monday.  Embry said the same thing.

“I voted my district,” Embry said. “My emails, faxes and phone calls were two to one in favor of the bill. My leadership, though, they weren’t too happy.”

House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, acknowledged, “There were people (in the Republican caucus) who were upset.” But he said no retribution was meted out to the four.

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Wendy Sparks

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