House Democrats Block Minimum Wage Study, Pass Bill to Repeal Earlier Compromise

Posted on 05-20-2021

MAY 14, 2021 — On a party-line vote, House Democrats voted on Thursday to repeal a minimum wage compromise to which they agreed less than three years ago.
House Bill 88 cleared the chamber, 26 to 15. It seeks to eliminate Delaware’s “youth wage” and “training wage.” Under existing law, Delaware employers can pay minors, and those working the first 90-days of a new job, an hourly rate 50-cents under what would otherwise be the state’s minimum wage.
Both the youth wage and training wage were created in a settlement that ended an impasse that closed out the last session day of the 149th General Assembly.
The incident occurred after House and Senate Democrats attempted to push a one-dollar minimum wage hike through the legislature in the wee hours of July 1, 2018.  The measure was brought to the House floor for a vote, without the required committee hearing or public notice, at 3:30 a.m. After hours of negotiations, the measure was ultimately approved, but not before Republicans secured the modest training wage and youth wage modifications.
House Democrats initially introduced a bill to repeal both modifications in January 2019 — just weeks after they had been implemented. That attempt failed.
In another minimum wage development this week, Democrats on the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee refused to release a bill sponsored by State Rep. Bryan Shupe (R-Milford South), in photo, seeking to give lawmakers more information on pending legislation to raise Delaware’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
House Bill 147 would have required the Controller General and other state agencies to cooperate on preparing an analysis of the positive and negative economic impacts of increasing the state’s minimum wage more than 62% over the next three-and-a-half years.
The minimum wage hike proposal has already been approved by the Senate and is pending action in the House Appropriations Committee.