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Branstad signs law freezing Iowa minimum wage at $7.25

This news story was published on March 30, 2017.
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State capitol of Iowa

DES MOINES – Legislation signed Thursday by Governor Terry Branstad will make sure Iowa’s minimum wage will be set at $7.25 and nullify hikes in four counties.

Gov. Branstad signed House File 295, an act prohibiting counties and cities from establishing certain regulations relating to employment matters.  The new law deems that a city shall not adopt, enforce or otherwise administer an ordinance, motion, resolution, or amendment providing for any terms or conditions of employment that exceed or conflict with the requirements of federal or state law relating to a minimum or living wage rate, any form of employment leave, hiring practices, employment benefits, scheduling practices, or other terms or conditions of employment.  It freezes the state’s minimum wage at $7.25 until the state legislature enacts a new wage.

The bill passed the Iowa House on March 9, 56-41 and the Iowa Senate on March 27, 29-21.

Rep. Todd Prichard

Todd Prichard, a Floyd county Democratic legislator who is mulling a run for governor, said “the Branstad/Reynolds administration just signed a law lowering wages for hard working Iowans in 4 counties. Once again proving we need a Governor who will work for EVERY Iowan.”

In response to the new law, Christine Owens, executive director at the National Employment Law Project, issued the following statement:

“The Iowa legislature’s decision today to invalidate minimum wage increases adopted by counties around the state is a new low in the callous, corporate-driven push to block living wages for the state’s lowest wage earners. The bill’s passage marks the first time anywhere in the U.S. that state lawmakers have actually taken away raises from workers who already received them. About 29,000 Iowans in Johnson and Linn counties, whose pay increased under local laws, will see their wages cut from $10.10 in Johnson County and $8.25 in Linn County to the state minimum of $7.25/hr. And about 85,000 workers in Johnson, Linn, Wapello, and Polk Counties will be denied scheduled raises between $10.10 and $10.75 by 2019. Years of economic research show that increasing the minimum wage does not lead to job losses, yet legislative leaders have chosen to stifle local power in order to maximize corporate profits. Their decision comes at the expense of hard-working Iowans who power those businesses but still can’t make ends meet.”


HF295, preempting all past and future local minimum wage and employment benefits laws, was a direct response to the growing movement for higher wages across the country and in Iowa. To date, Johnson, Linn, Wapello, and Polk Counties have all adopted minimum wage increases to between $10.10 and $10.75 by 2019. The Iowa Policy Blog estimates that about 29,000 Iowa workers have already benefitted from increases, and about 85,000 would have seen wage increases by 2019. This bill also bans all future local laws addressing virtually all types of employment benefits, including scheduling practices and paid sick or family leave.

As NELP recently outlined, state legislatures are responding to the success of the nationwide movement for higher wages by passing laws that prohibit cities and counties from adopting their own higher minimum wages. More than 40 cities and counties have adopted higher minimum wages. While state legislators will claim that these preemption laws are necessary to ensure uniformity of wages within a state, this argument is a distraction from the true corporate agenda behind these laws. Stripping localities of power over wages (and a range of other pro-worker, pro-environment, and pro-civil rights policies) has become a major priority of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-backed group with extensive lobbying resources and influence in our state legislatures. ALEC drafts “model” minimum wage preemption bills for conservative legislatures to simply copy and paste.

The real facts about the effects of local minimum wage increases expose the hypocrisy of legislators’ ideological objections to local action improving wages and working conditions. Studies of minimum wage increases in Santa Fe (2006) and San Francisco (2014) found that both cities fared better in employment growth than surrounding jurisdictions without increases. In fact, in San Francisco, food service jobs—the sector most heavily affected by the increase—grew about 17 percent faster than in surrounding counties during the period studied. Moreover, one of the most sophisticated studies of minimum wage increases looked at more than 250 pairs of neighboring counties where one county’s minimum wage was higher than the other county’s minimum, effectively isolating the true impact of minimum wage differences because neighboring counties tend to have similar economic conditions. The study found no difference in job growth rates.

Employers have also attested to the positive impact of local wage hikes. Molly Moon Neitzel, owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream with seven locations throughout Seattle and a member of the Main Street Alliance of Washington, has explained: “Raising the wages of the lowest paid workers creates a wave of new consumers who previously weren’t able to spend money at local businesses. Working long hours at multiple jobs doesn’t leave much time for low-wage workers to get out into their community and spend time with loved ones. Families struggling to make ends meet can’t afford the luxury of taking their children out for ice cream. Now that Seattle businesses are paying a living wage I look forward to seeing new customers in my shops and welcoming new fans of our products.”

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21 Responses to Branstad signs law freezing Iowa minimum wage at $7.25

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 1, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Allen – you must be a brainwashed liberal – ps – people losing money will not tip anyone – gee ! everyone’s a weiner.

    • Allen

      Allen Reply Report comment

      April 1, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      You didn’t answer my question, which is par for the course. Did your friend tell you what her average daily take was in tips. Do you even know what casino your (imaginary) friend works at. And why all the name calling, that’s par for you also. Is it a self esteem issue, and it makes you feel superior to everyone else, just wondering….

      • Allen

        Allen Reply Report comment

        April 1, 2017 at 9:36 pm

        Oh, I forgot to ask, what does your imaginary friend do at the casino, just wondering.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 1, 2017 at 8:50 am

    This will really pizz off the illegals which our state hosts the most of any state in the midwest.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    You should only be paid minimum wage for minimum work. That’s what all your elected officials are worth. Most of them aren’t worth 2 hoots in hell.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Whoa! This is going to get exciting – ER ! – I mean when the SHIT HITS THE FAN ! EA HAAAAH !

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I take it it also INCLUDES PUBLIC SERVANTS or otherwise it is DISCRIMINATION at its finest.

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 9:42 am

    29 counties in Iowa are sanctuary counties (meaning they are in violation of Federal immigration laws) gee I wonder if they pay even minimum wages. Old JEFF SESSIONS (AG) will be having a talk with Terry in the near future – plus all of the counties will lose federal grants – and all benefits – if status is not changed and illegals removed. Paybacks are a bitch . This NOT fake news – look it up.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 1, 2017 at 9:32 am

      It is about time they made them obey the law.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 8:49 am

    A friend of ours said she only made 5.00 per hour plus tips working at the casino – only place I know of where you can smoke . Laws are not for everyone I guess..

    • Allen

      Allen Reply Report comment

      March 31, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Just wondering, did your friend tell you what her average daily take was in tips. I would think that a person that goes to a casino regularly, to throw their money away, and has a casino pass card would tip real good.

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Does that mean that anyone making over $7.25 and hour is breaking the law? Please sort this out because I work 3 jobs to survive and all of them pay a little more than $7.25 – should I hire a attorney ?

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 8:36 am

    And you thought NWO (new world order) and globelization was just for other people ?

  10. Avatar

    Monte Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Way to go Bro! Make China Great Again!!!

  11. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Big corporations and rich people have always paid off politicans so what else is new? — What cha gonna do about it? – Get a lawyer and a fair Federal Judge and go to court – make sure you file a suit against them to recover all damages and expenses. He’s doing an obamma on the way out the door. $$$$ No need to try another run – he’s been comprimised and even the working class private sector will never again vote for him – but then again do you thinks he gives a chit – he’s healed and the big money will keep on rollin in.

  12. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Must be nice to be a plumber, carpenter,electrician and mechanic and charge people whatever you feel like.

  13. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 31, 2017 at 5:57 am

    If you don’t like it go get some skills and you will make more. All you people want is free stuff and it doesn’t work that way. Never has!

  14. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 30, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    He is just doing what the Republicans elected him to do, keep the poor poorer and health make the rich richer.

  15. Avatar

    Seems fair Reply Report comment

    March 30, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    It’s time the governor is paid minimum wage.
    Let’s make it the law.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 31, 2017 at 7:36 am

      He’s collecting a salary and a pension for being governor.