It may be a new year, but Florida’s hourly minimum wage will remain the same at $8.05. Some state law makers are hoping to change this, with renewed campaigns in the upcoming state 2016 Legislative session opening on January 12.
The issue has been stagnant among the state leadership. But Democratic state representative Hazelle Rogers says the need for a fixed living wage remains crucial, based on the living conditions she encounters among her constituents.
“Some people can’t even afford to live from pay check to pay check. Their incomes cannot stretch between pay-days,” says Rogers, noting the countless people in food-bank lines in Broward County who thank her for the opportunity, as “they otherwise would starve. We need a living wage where folks can adequately feed their families, educate their children and a keep a roof over their heads whether they rent or own a home.”
Rogers also realizes getting the House to raise the minimum wage “is a gigantic challenge.” She said in the past Democrats failed in their efforts to raise the ate to $10.10, but “Democrats going to Tallahassee next week will be relentless in trying to get this increase.”
Meanwhile Rogers, who terms out of the Legislature this year, is co-sponsoring House Bill 33 titled “Community Investment Program,” which seeks to counteract poverty in Florida communities. “The bill aims to alleviate the economic plight of residents in communities with double digit poverty and double digit unemployment,” Rogers said.
Miami community advocate Nelsa Cummings is among residents organizing an outreach to South Florida legislators for their support on increasing the minimum wage, setting Republican Representative George Moraitis, Jr. of District 93 in Boca Raton as their lobby target.
Moraitis, says Cummings, “should be sensitive to the plight of over 30 percent of his constituents who are living from pay check to pay check, or living on the poverty line because of Florida’s low minimum wage.”
She said she hopes every voter who is hurting financially and those concerned about those who are hurting “will call their state representatives immediately.”