State Democrats pushing "Local Wage Act" - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

State Democrats pushing "Local Wage Act"

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Some lawmakers want to give local governments control over low-wage workers paychecks.

Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), Sen. Dave Hansen (D- Green Bay), and Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) introduced the Local Wage Act. It would allow local governments the power to raise the minimum wage. It would also allow them to enact local Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) standards.

Since 2009, the minimum wage in Wisconsin is $7.25. Democrats say if Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans want to start reforming the welfare system, wage increases should be on the list.

Also with GOP lawmakers wanting to repeal portions of FMLA, Rep. Subeck says they want to have a backup plan.

"There are clear differences from community to community and what it costs to rent an apartment, to buy food, and meet other basic needs," said Rep. Subeck. “Wisconsinites are struggling and they don’t have what they need to make ends meet.”

Ciara Fox, like many single parents, struggles to afford to take a day off work. She lost her job years ago after she had to take of several weeks to care for her daughter. Now she works in a nursing home making minimum wage. Fox says raising wages in Wisconsin could be a start for her to finally make ends meet.

"I picked up a job and I would never work for that amount, but I have four kids to feed,” said Fox. “I don't get any housing vouchers, I don't have that."

Fox says she’s not the only one facing these circumstances and would hope the conversation continues to help people like herself not have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck.

"So if I have to make it work with what I have and if it means to work for less than what I’m worth, then I’ll have to do it," said Fox.

So far the bill does not have any Republican support.

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