Friday, March 13, 2009

On March 4th, the Georgia Minimum Wage Coalition was able to increase awareness of HB 290, raising the state minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to the federal level at the Women in the Halls/By the People lobby event and expanding coverage to more employees in the state. Sponsored by several progressive organizations, the event provided training as to how to talk to your legislator while the GA Minimum Wage Coalition supplied the information about increasing the state minimum wage.

We had a great turnout and thank all of our participants! Because we had constituents from several key districts in the Georgia, we were able to talk with Representatives Mike Coan (R-Dist. 101), Clay Cox (R- Dist. 102), Rahn Mayo (D- Dist. 91), Mary Margaret Oliver (D- Dist. 83), and Robbin Shipp (D- Dist. 58). Key to these meetings were our discussions with Rep. Coan, who heads the House Industrial Relations Committee. HB 290 is in his committee, but for the second straight year, he has not felt that the bill was important enough to bring to a committee hearing.

While Rep. Coan would not give us a direct answer about bringing HB 290 into a committee meeting before the end of the session on April 4th, his neighboring colleague Rep. Cox expressed that he felt this was an issue that needs to be heard! Meanwhile, Representatives Mayo, Shipp, and Oliver also support the bill. All expressed, however, the need to hear from THEIR CONSTITUENTS to help bring the bill to a committee hearing. That means we must all be in contact with our Representatives, asking for their support of HB 290 and pressing Rep. Coan to bring this bill to a meeting THIS YEAR!

Georgians are being hit hard by unemployment and a lack of resources in these difficult economic times. Meanwhile, the state budget has been cut again. Rep. Coan only wants to hear bills that have to do with strengthening our economy without realizing how much HB 290 does impact our economy. Consumer spending makes up about 70% of our economy. Putting increased wages into the hands of workers puts them directly back into our local businesses and communities, strengthening both working Georgians and the state economy. This is a bill that his committee SHOULD be addressing.

Please call or write your Representatives and show support for HB 290!! They need to hear from us. They have asked us to contact them. Please visit for more information about HB 290 and how to contact your legislators. Hard work deserves fair pay! We’d also like to thank the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Doug McKillip of Athens, for his continued support.


Stay tuned next week for updates on this past Wednesday's Parent Protection Act lobby day...

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