Ashton Marra Published

Minimum Wage Bill Will Force Lawmakers into Special Session


Lawmakers will be called into a special session slated for May to deal with a newly signed bill to increase the minimum wage, according to a press release issued Tuesday evening by Governor Tomblin’s office.

The bill will raise the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $8 on Jan. 1, 2015, and again to $8.75 the following year.

Tomblin signed the minimum wage bill Tuesday after stating earlier in the day he had some concerns about overtime provisions and maximum hours in the bill. Those provisions could unintentionally costs cities thousands, he said.

In a statement, Tomblin said he and legislative leaders discussed ways to avoid those consequences and decided legislative action was necessary.

“Any minor clarifications regarding exemptions in HB 4283 can be taken care of during a brief special session before its effective date,” Senate President Jeff Kessler said in a statement.

The special session will take place during May interim meetings, when lawmakers are already scheduled to be in town and a little more than two weeks before the bill would take effect on June 6.

“I signed this bill because I believe it is a positive step toward helping more than 100,000 hardworking West Virginians earn a fair wage,” Tomblin said.

House Speaker Tim Miley said his members will work closely with the Senate and the Governor to ensure the increase in minimum wage has no adverse impact on the overtime laws employers in West Virginia currently follow.

Tomblin said Wednesday the May session would also include some budgetary issues dealing with  lottery appropriations for things like Capitol projects and the School Building Authority’s bonds.

He added if lawmakers agreed to an abortion bill that didn’t conflict with federal court rulings, he would consider signing it.

The May session will be the second extraordinary session legislators have participated in this year. The first came following the extended budget session to take up nine bills that were lost on the final night.