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Virginia Senate, House Pass Legislation To Boost Minimum Wage

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The Virginia General Assembly recently passed a bill that will incrementally increase the current minimum wage in the state to $12 per hour by the year 2023, if Gov. Northam signs off the bill, which he is expected to do.

The current minimum wage in the state is $7.25 per hour, but is expected to jump up to $9.50 next year, $11 in 2022, and finally hitting $12 in 2023.

The bill was approved almost along party lines, as Democrats were supportive of the measure, but the GOP opposed it, which is not surprising at all, especially given how economic facts have proven that a hiking the minimum wage does more harm than good.

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This version of the minimum wage bill came out of a joint conference committee with House and Senate Democrats who disagreed on how the minimum wage increase should affect lower-income regions of the commonwealth. The compromise bill essentially tables this debate until 2022.

The initial House version, House Bill 395, sought to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour across the entire state, while the initial Senate version, Senate Bill 7, sought a regional approach, which would have increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour only in the wealthiest parts of the states. Lower-income regions would have had their increases tied to the average regional salary.

As a compromise, the new bill would compel three government agencies to conduct a joint review to understand the effect of a regional minimum wage increase. The agencies would consider several factors, which include its impact on the cost of living, its impact on workers and its impact on income inequality. They also would consider the economic benefits of a regional minimum wage and whether it is feasible.

The compromise bill contains a provision designed to pave the way for increasing the minimum wage to $13.50 by 2025 and $15 per hour by 2026, but first requires legislative action. Lawmakers will have the opportunity to approve these two increases by July 1, 2024. If they do not approve the increases by 2024, then the $12 minimum wage would just be tied to inflation.

The problem with increasing the minimum wage is that, while it looks good on paper, it actually doesn’t do anything to help folks who are in those jobs make a better living wage. It actually does the opposite.

When the minimum wage is increased, that’s more money coming out of the pocket of the business owner who has to find some way to absorb the extra expense so as not to hurt the profitability of the business and keep it running.

This means that the price of the goods and services is going to go up to reflect the hike, passing the cost on to the customer. If the price of goods and services go up, it leads to an increase in the cost of living and thus, we’re right back where we started.

Not to mention that folks just starting out in the workforce will find it more difficult to get entry level experience they need to establish a work history as business owners will want to be more cautious about who they hire with such a high wage, wanting folks with experience instead of taking on those who have none.

It’s just a bad idea.

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Charges Announced in the Death of Daunte Wright

The charges may not appease protesters, however.

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As Minneapolis and her suburbs contuse to grapple with violence and looting in the aftermath of the death of Daunte Wright, officials on Wednesday announced charges against the officer involved in the case. Wright was shot and killed several days ago in an incident that was described as “accidental” by the police chief of Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis where, coincidentally, the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer involved in the death of George Floyd, is currently ongoing. Now it appears as though another trial will be coming to the greater Minneapolis area in the coming months. Local prosecutors in Minnesota on Wednesday are expected to charge former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter with second-degree manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, as civil unrest has persisted for three consecutive nights, with demonstrations spilling into Minneapolis. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput is expected to announce the second-degree manslaughter charge later Wednesday. Orput did not immediately return a voicemail left by Fox News on Wednesday. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, according to The Associated Press. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, KSTP and Minnesota Public Radio all reported Orput’s expected charging announcement. Potter is believed to have been reaching for her taser when she accidentally brandished her service pistol instead, striking and killing Wright with one projectile, while expressing her disbelief as seen and heard on body cam footage.

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Despite Travel Warning, MI Health Official Visits Popular Spring Break Spot

And it’s not the first time that Michigan officials have been caught flouting their own guidance.

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While we may be nearing the end, or at least the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic, there are still some pockets of the nation where trouble remains high.  Michigan just happens to be one of those places. This, despite the draconian lockdowns imposed by controversial Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has been the target of a number of harsh criticisms over her handling of the pandemic. Now, in what some seem to believe could be a brazen flouting of their own advice, one top health official in the state has jetted off to a popular spring break destination while Michigan itself remains under a travel advisory. Michigan’s new health director traveled to Alabama last week shortly after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer discouraged residents from traveling as the state leads the nation in the highest number of new coronavirus cases, a local news service first reported this week. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel was in Gulf Shores, Ala., according to the Michigan Information & Research Service. Gulf Shores is a popular resort destination along the Gulf of Mexico. A DHHS spokesperson told Fox News the agency does not “discuss the director’s personal schedule.” The locals were not amused. “The sheer brazenness of Gov. Whitmer and her staff is truly something else,” Michigan GOP spokesman Ted Goodman told Fox News. “The fact that our Governor and her top staff think it’s appropriate to travel out of state on vacation as Michigan faces the worst COVID numbers of any state in the country just reveals the arrogance and condescending nature of this administration. Whitmer’s position on the draconian lockdown orders is simple — rules for thee, but not for me.” This isn’t the first time that Michigan officials have been caught ignoring their own advice, with Governor Whitmer’s…

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