Recently in Missouri, voters voted on the state level to increase the minimum wage to $8.60 in 2019. The change in minimum wage will be gradually phased in, eventually reaching $12 in 2023. The people of Missouri spoke on this, as was their right. However, when the federal government comes in and tries to pass down a one-size-fits-all solution, for every single state — the outcome is often not so good. This week, House Democrats passed a bill to mandate a one-size-fits-all federal minimum wage. This bill is yet another overreaching power grab from Washington. Missouri voters already decided to raise their minimum wage last year. Now the federal government believes it knows better than the states and wants to force its solution on all Americans. Unfortunately, this policy will …
• Cost up to 3.7 million jobs nationwide (CBO);
• Cause nearly half of families with a minimum wage earner to see a reduction in household income (CBO); and
• Cause Missouri to possibly lose over 48,000 jobs (Employment Policies Institute).
Additionally, this bill would decrease work choices for families of disabled individuals by phasing out sheltered workshops. Sheltered workshops provide the necessary tools for those with disabilities to succeed in their jobs and can help these individuals acclimate to the workforce, and even learn and hone their life and social skills. I offered an amendment to preserve these spaces which offer valuable training and support, but House Democrats refused to let my amendment come to the floor for a vote. I am disappointed that we couldn’t at least come together on this common-sense amendment. “This sheltered workshop provision would have assisted individuals and families by continuing a broad selection of available options to individuals with disabilities as they seek employment,” said Kit Brewer, Legislative Chair of the Missouri Employment Supports and Advocacy (MESA). “Elimination of such options places additional barriers to the employment success of some men and women with disabilities, and additional burdens on they and their families. We support open communication and information on an array of employment choices.” House Democrats’ minimum wage bill, H.R. 582, passed the House by a vote of 231-199. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
I enjoyed speaking to Missouri Employment Supports and Advocacy clients and families about my support of them, sheltered workshops, and the need to preserve choices for disabled workers and their families.