Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum and House Minority Leader Mark Smith both called for raising Iowa’s minimum wage in their opening remarks to fellow legislators yesterday. Increasing the minimum wage from the current level of $7.25 would raise earnings for roughly 332,000 Iowa workers, according to a 2012 estimate. It would acknowledge the reality that “the minimum wage does not keep a full-time worker out of poverty.”
Governor Terry Branstad said last week that a minimum wage hike is “not part of my agenda,” suggesting that job training and efforts to attract high-skilled jobs would be sufficient. Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen indicated that he sees a minimum wage increase as “[m]aking it harder to be an employer in the state of Iowa.”
However, appearing on Iowa Public Radio’s “River to River” program yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal pointed out that Branstad signed a minimum wage increase during the 1980s and that Paulsen had voted for the January 2007 bill that raised the wage. On the same program, Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer acknowledged that there may be support for a minimum wage increase in her caucus, since at least half of current House Republicans who were in the legislature in 2007 had voted for that minimum wage hike. Like Paulsen, Upmeyer was a yes vote. At the time, he was House minority whip and she was one of four assistant minority leaders.
Iowa’s last minimum wage hike was the first bill Governor Chet Culver signed into law. House File 1 sailed through, passing by 79 votes to 19 in the Iowa House and 40 votes to 8 in the Iowa Senate. All of the Democrats supported the bill. After the jump I’ve listed how all of the current Republican lawmakers voted on the minimum wage increase. Twelve supported the bill, thirteen opposed it, and one was absent for the 2007 vote.
The roll call on House File 1 is in the January 23, 2007 edition of the House Journal (pdf). It’s worth noting that everyone on the House minority leadership team at that time voted yes. That included the former House Speaker Chris Rants, Rod Roberts, and Jeff Kaufmann, the father of current Iowa House Republican Bobby Kaufmann.
Current Republican lawmakers who voted yes:
Steve Olson (now Iowa House Speaker Pro-Tem)
Kraig Paulsen (now Iowa House Speaker)
Dawn Pettengill (she was a House Democrat at that time but switched to the Republican Party later in 2007)
Linda Upmeyer (now Iowa House Majority Leader)
Current Republican lawmakers who voted no on House File 1 in 2007:
Sandy Greiner (now serves in Iowa Senate)
Matt Windschitl (now an Iowa House Assistant Majority Leader)
State Representative Dave Heaton was the only Republican who was absent for that 2007 vote. He still serves in the Iowa House. I have not seen any comment from him on a minimum wage increase.
The Iowa Senate roll call on the bill to raise the minimum wage was published in the January 24 edition of the Senate Journal (pdf). There’s been a lot of turnover in the GOP Senate caucus since 2007, but two current Republican state senators voted yes:
Four current Republican senators voted against the 2007 minimum wage increase:
Sandy Greiner (was in the Iowa House at that time)