CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Before an increase to the state minimum wage can take effect, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin must sign the bill before Tuesday’s deadline.

On Friday, members of the Tomblin Administration were still working through the proposed legislation (HB 4283), which would lift the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $8.75 by 2016. It was one of the more than 90 bills from the 2014 legislative session that had still not been addressed.

Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie was among those calling on Tomblin to veto the bill: “If the intent is to make minimum wage go up, and solely that, go back and make a bill, very simple, that states just that.”

The current legislation, McKenzie said, includes definition changes that would impact overtime laws by trumping the overtime exemptions 80 percent of West Virginia’s employers fall under currently.

There are 19 exemptions in the state’s overtime law, but more than 50 in the federal law. If it becomes law, the overtime changes would take effect June 6 for all employers with more than six workers.

“Somehow, this has gone through committee after committee, two floor sessions, and, clearly, no one read the bill,” said McKenzie on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

McKenzie estimated, in its current form, the legislation would cost his city between $300,000 and $400,000 in additional expenses within the city budget that has already been submitted to the state. The costs would be greater in Huntington and Charleston.

But House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) argued the overall intent of the bill is good.


“Instead of people looking for ways to make the bill better and workable, they want to just kill the entire bill and throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” Miley and Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall, 2) are urging Tomblin to sign the bill.

“If there’s unintended consequences or if there are mistakes, you fix it. You don’t act like the sun’s not going to come up tomorrow.  You don’t act like the world’s going to stop turning. You address it calmly and you fix it and that’s what I fully expect Gov. Tomblin to do if there are these unintended consequences,” said Miley.

Any issues with the bill, he said, could be addressed through emergency rules from the Division of Labor or adjustments during a Special Session.

McKenzie said such promises for fixes, after the bill becomes a law, cannot be guaranteed. “I think the concern is, the governor signs the bill, they (lawmakers) get back into some type of a special session here in the next 30, 60, 90 days and they can’t come to a compromise,” he said.

State lawmakers approved the minimum wage during the legislative session that ended March 8. If the bill is signed by Tomblin, the minimum wage increase would be phased in. It would climb to $8 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015, and $8.75 an hour on Jan 1, 2016.

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Comments

  • Bill MC

    You mean that bills get passed that are never read! Dang is that the first time that has happened? I remember one other bill called the ACA that was passed without being read. What a mess that created! So just add this one to the dumba** things our elected officials do to make things equal. Pass them then fix them, they just forget to do the fixes!

  • Mason County Contrarian

    The usual "jobs killer" parrot will be squawking in just a moment. Please stand by.

  • George

    I have just read where our so called governor has just vetoed the abortion bill that would have allowed the unborn a chance for life. I am ashamed of our governor and the state of wv......it.s a sad day when our own governor has no respect for human life. Can't wait to pull that button for republicans on Election Day".........The only thing we have left is prayer".....

    • Chris

      You "pull" buttons?.. and are commenting on a topic from an entirely different artical.. Your post doesn't make you sound too bright.

    • Sam

      Please, rather than trying to assign political labels to a cause, slander with name calling or play God by judging your fellow humans actions, do stick to prayer-also remember that whole "love thy neighbor" thing and "let he who is without sin... throw the first stone".

    • Stacey

      Wrong article buddy.

  • Tina B

    Funny how the lobbyist's didn't have a problem with this part of the bill until AFTER it passed both chambers. They just want to kill it.

    Don't let them. Helping the working poor in West Virginia. It is only 1.50 for goodness sake.

    • Low Rider

      Obviously you don't understand the overtime repercussions. The $1.50 isn't the issue. Read the bill.

      • Tina B

        OBVIOUSLY you haven't read the bill, looked at the sponsors, or looked at who voted for it.

        The bill RAISES wages for those that are working. They removed language to raising minimum wage instead of exempting everyone from having to do it.

        IF and I mean that in CAPS IF it changed the overtime exemptions laws there are ways to fix it but one lawyer paid by the Chamber isn't going to convince me. Especially when that group waited until the bill passed both chambers to seem to care about it.

        Don't be so gullible. Like the article states, the sun will come up tomorrow and then you will owe me an apology for your hysteria over something that will never see the light of day.

        • Low Rider

          You seem to be struggling with the OT exemption language…here's an example:

          Many firefighters in the state work 2 x 24 hour shifts. Under the old rules they were exempt from OT and received 48 hours of straight time pay. Under the new law the exemption goes away, and all hours worked over 40 in a week must be paid at 1 1/2.

          Doesn't sound like much, but if you have a fire department with dozens of firefighters, the costs add up quickly over a year. In the end…some firemen will lose their jobs.

          Look past the buck fifty…that is not the issue.

          • Aaron

            I have not said firemen will lose their job. I have said that if the language is not fixed, municipalities will see their cost increase. That is a fact.

            I would apologize now but I really do not know how I can make it any more simple to understand than that.

          • Tina B

            Those that begin to speak in terms such as "young lady" and "inability to read and comprehend" shows your lack of respect to those with differing opinions. It reflects your character and speaks volumes.

            Again, I guarantee if the bill is signed, not ONE fireman will lose their job do to ambiguous language in the bill regarding overtime issues. Not one.

            I will await your apology when my prediction comes true.

          • Aaron

            Your inability to read and comprehend the exemption status changes do not mean they are not there young lady. It simply means you do not possess the wherewithal to comprehend the facts.

          • Tina B

            No struggling. Read the previous post about being gullible.

            Paid chamber lawyer find language that "May" his word cause overtime exemption laws to change does not sound if he is certain.

            No firemen will lose their jobs because of this bill. I guarantee it. It is all hype by the chamber. Stop drinking their kook-aid.

        • Aaron

          It's hard for people outside the legislature to read and evaluate a bill before it passes a chamber.

          • Aaron

            Ok then.

          • Tina B

            Not PAID lobbyists. In fact, that is their number one job.

            Maybe the businesses/organizations that pay for the lobbyists should use that money to pay their staff instead. It could end up being a win-win since the lobbyists missed it during the entire 60 day legislative session.

  • Aaron

    The only reason to sign a flawed bill is if the unintended mistake was not a mistake.

  • Low Rider

    This sounds similar to the Obama care debate. "If there are problems you fix it". Every attempt by the Republicans to "fix it" have never gotten to the floor of the Senate.

    Miley is a true liberal. He had no idea what the costs to muninciplalites were when he passed the bill. In Parkersburg all of the city fireman will now be eligible for some kind of overtime that was exempt before. Who has really gained if a number of fireman have to be cut from the payroll because of these unexpected costs? Tim Miley will keep his job...the junior Parkersburg firemen will not!

  • ViennaGuy

    - “If there’s unintended consequences or if there are mistakes, you fix it. You don’t act like the sun’s not going to come up tomorrow." -

    Speaker Miley, if you had done it right to begin with, we wouldn't be going through this.

    • Stacey

      Wait, what are we going through? Have we lost a lot of jobs over this and I missed it?

      • ViennaGuy

        I'm not sure what you mean. I said nothing about jobs or even about raising the minimum wage.

        My comment dealt solely about the sloppy manner by which the Legislature writes and passes bills without knowing their contents - and then going back to "fix" problems which should never have occurred. This issue is happening more and more often, which means the Legislature is becoming more and more careless with legislation.

        The Legislature would do well to heed the KISS principle - "Keep It Simple, Stupid." If they wanted a minimum wage increase, fine, pass a bill that raises the minimum wage, but keep the rest of the nonsense OUT of it.

        • Stacey

          Understanding the difference between propaganda and reality, is key to looking at an entire issue. Please look beyond the Chamber scare tactics. Don't let them scare you into paralysis.

          • The bookman

            I could send you my "My Sheetz" card as remuneration. I just checked back to see if the wreck was cleared, but alas, another train wreck. Good luck, my friend!

          • Aaron

            Bookman, on another thread you commended me for my patience with continued ignorant comments that were so easily proven wrong.

            Is there a double time standard for that type of work as I'm much deserving on this thread.

          • Stacey

            You're only focusing on what you're scared of happening instead of what will happen for West Virginians.

            It is going to be OKay.

            Sign the bill.

          • Aaron

            "A BILL to amend and reenact §21-5C-1 and §21-5C-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to raising the minimum wage; and removing language exempting certain employers covered by federal minimum wage from definition of employer for state minimum wage purposes."

            No one is scaring me. That is the first line of the text. Federal law has 50+ job categories that are exempt from overtime status. This bill removed more than 30 of them as it only allows for 19 job categories overtime exempt status.

            As such, hours that are now paid as regular time will become overtime hours on June 6th if this bill is signed into law. Honestly, I do not understand how you cannot grasp those simple facts regarding this bill. It's in black and white and if you cannot comprehend it, I can be of no help to you.

        • Aaron

          I believe there's 51 labor law exemptions in West Virginia and changes were made in this bill that affected 20 of them, if I recall correctly. How did authors of the bill accidentally mess up 40% of the exemptions?

          I to believe is Occam's Razor as well as the incompetency of many of our legislatures which is why I believe the way I do.

          If it was honest mistakes behind the foulups that have already occurred, I think signing the bill and giving inept legislatures another crack fixing the bill can do more harm.

        • Stacey

          Nothing has happened though - you stated "we wouldn't be going through this."

          A rules change potentially after the bill signing to clarify the language to it isn't so ambiguous is easy. I haven't had to go through a thing for that to happen.

          What exactly are you experiencing at this point? Reading the article is that painful?

          • Aaron

            "A chamber paid attorney waits until the bill passes BOTH CHAMBERS to determine that it "MAY" cause OT problems."

            Therein lies the problem. The bill changed exemptions. Previously, by law, a fireman could not draw OT pay until they surpassed 51 hours. With the change, they now draw OT pay after 40 hours. There is no MAY in that and if you're not smart enough to understand that, then I see no point in trying to reason with you.

          • Stacey

            Bookman,

            Hate politicians all you want, I don't care. I want this bill passed. It will make WV look as though it actually cares about the little guy. They might feel a little better about getting out of bed and looking at themselves in the mirror. Their leaders care more about them than those guys in DC do. WV values their workers a little bit more. That is what I want for over 100,000 people here.

            You don't care about them, you care more about who said what and who comments about whatever, I just want people to get a raise. It's really that simple.

            If the governor signs this bill, I am personally sending cards of thanks to him, Kessler and Miley. It will be a good day to be in West Virginia.

          • Stacey

            Jason:

            The chamber was quietly pushing the senators hard for a change in the minimum wage increments. They changed the senate version but then the senate ultimately agreed with the House amounts literally during the final hours of the session.

            The chamber will ABSOLUTELY try to change the amounts again. That is why they invented and paid for the political drama occurring. They don't want to be exposed for their uncaring position towards low income West Virginians, they are going about it in a back door strategy.

            This scare tactic is only that: a scare tactic. Those that hate the government and/or WV leaders (see posts above) carry their water for them to help their message spread.

            There is no reason to veto this bill when there "May" (word their paid lawyer used) not even be a problem with the OT exemptions. IF there is, then it can be fixed but don't give the chamber a second crack at changing the increase amount.

          • The bookman

            Stacey,

            So you say no one loses a job or undue stress is placed on municipalities, (I don't recall anyone claiming bankruptcy). The bill received enormous support, but obviously due diligence was not placed in vetting the legislation. Where is the rebuttal from Miley et al that the consequences won't be as stated by Mayor McKenzie? In fact, he posits that a fix in the legislation can be achieved after signing the bill, therefore accepting the premise of the flaw. My problem with the leadership this session was the ineptitude exhibited on the budget. Prezioso was the single adult in the Democratic caucus, IMHO. I was appalled that Miley could actually comment that due to the election, no hard decisions could be made on spending or taxes. That is not leadership. So am I hard on leadership? You betcha! No apology. And for you as a Democrat, admittedly my assumption, to support him makes you complicit. I support the Republicans in the legislature, and if Armstead had conducted this session this way as Speaker I would call for his ouster as well. Incompetence, impotence, self preserving, cowardice, et cetera.....all descriptors for a summary of this session. This bill is indicative of the overall failure over this 60 day session. If you really do care, you should demand better of your leaders!

          • Stacey

            Well you can, when brought to your specific attention, read.

            Amazing.

            So read this:

            The bill was voted on to pass an increase in minimum wage.

            It did.

            A chamber paid attorney waits until the bill passes BOTH CHAMBERS to determine that it "MAY" cause OT problems.

            Stop hyperventilating over hyped drama from people that want the bill to be killed.

            It is going to be ok. Firemen won't get fired, municipalities will not go bankrupt.

            Who knew "boys" would be so dramatic.

            PS please stop with the continual political bashing. Your bizarre hatred is exposing your true emotions behind the bill. You don't like those guys. People like me want this bill for low income West Virginians. If they pass this bill it will make me happy, ESPECIALLY when it passes and the OT issue never comes to fruition. It will make me trust them more and the chamber even less. THAT is obviously what you are afraid of happening.

            PSS Aaron as far as your conspiracy theory complex. No reasoning with that, no point.

          • The bookman

            Could be, I guess. I always go with the simplest answer, as that is usually the correct answer. Plus, such a conspiracy would require forethought, cunning, intelligence and execution. All are characteristics not observed by the leaders in this session. I believe that they were unable to see the impact of removing the exemptions on certain groups, and as a result we find ourselves here in this predicament.

          • Aaron

            If the bill passed with such a wide margin and the exemption mistake was indeed a mistake, then why is there concern that it will not pass again, particularly given that (if it was a mistake) our legislatures have already proven incompetent at writing bills.

            Could it be that the minimum wage increase wasn't actually the focus of the bill by legislatures and the majority of those who say "the bill must be signed" know this?

          • The bookman

            Jason,

            I agree, and I think you make a good point. But viewed side by side, and given that the OT exemption dilemma was supposedly unintended, the chances of inaction would be less with the minimum wage vs the OT fix. The minimum wage increase was the focus of the bill. They will be more likely to make certain to get that through given the coming election cycle.

          • Jason412

            Not to jump in, but since it's an active conversation with my best shot of getting a decent answer. Could anyone clarify...

            “I think the concern is, the governor signs the bill, they (lawmakers) get back into some type of a special session here in the next 30, 60, 90 days and they can’t come to a compromise,” he said.

            Couldn't this go both ways? The bill is vetoed now, 2 months down the road the Legislature goes into special session, can't come to a compromise on the 2 year $1.50 increase and minimum wage is not raised.

            If I'm right in thinking that, which is what I'm asking for clarity on, I would say Stacey and Tina have legitimate concerns. Just because the bill passed by a large majority last month, doesn't mean it would in the future.

            If it were a 100% guarantee that if vetoed, the minimum wage would still be increased, I would completely support the veto. But there's no guarantee in politics, especially with the elected officials we currently have.

          • The bookman

            Stacey, with an "e",

            Wow, where's the Captain, as this at least a comment a la carte.

            1. I don't care if there are 20 options to fix it. The only assured method is the veto, and then do it over correctly.

            2. No condescension intended to you by the notation of you and Tina as girls. If that makes you insecure in someway, I apologize. You may want to supplement the thickness of your skin by wearing coveralls or something if you are going to hang out here, though.

            3. I'm not being partisan at all. Having the legislation vetoed and re written in a special session correctly that raises the minimum wage addresses the 100k people you seem to be sooo concerned about. Costing municipalities like Wheeling an extra 300-400K annually over a mistake cannot stand, even if it is only a possibility.

            4. You really stand by the statement that you don't care what is done, just as long as something IS done? If so, I must say that is a consistent thread through your posts. The leadership in this legislature certainly has operated in that fashion, throwing bills together, voting for or against them, and letting the chips fall where they may. This session was a cluster of incompetence, a complete inability to focus on the people's issues, and every key decision was based on election year politics. Your vehement support speaks volumes. I need not tear you down, as you are accomplishing that well enough on your own. If the elections don't solve the leadership issues, the democrats should. Those two guys are killing the party.

          • Stacey

            Given that you both (or are you the same really?) don't even have the ability spell my name correctly, the following doesn't surprise me:

            1) you didn't realize when reading the article they referenced 2 options to "fix" the OT that "may" (per the paid chamber attorney word) be a problem

            2) you have to resort to condescending language towards me because I'm of the female gender when you lose the argument

            3) you're blinded by a need to be partisan vs just doing what is best for the people of West Virginia by having them pass a bill that will raise the wages of over 100k people because of your fears of the chamber boogeyman

            4) I could care less about who does what in the legislature as long as something IS done. I will say this though, if your reasoning skills and logic are stating Kessler and Miley are not going to be leading WV, then odds are much higher in their favor that they will stay exactly where they are after the elections. Common sense and wisdom are characteristics no one would accuse you guy(s) of having.

          • Jason412

            What a hilarious back and forth.

          • The bookman

            Stacy,

            Thanks for the offer, however, I don't need the help. Next time, offer your services to Speaker Miley and President Kessler. These two buffoons obviously need to be enlightened as how to write a bill that is straight forward and simple.

            They have one more year so you better hurry!

          • Aaron

            Stacy is am ambiguous name.

            Your attempt at enlightenment is as ambiguous.

          • Stacey

            "Girls"? Really?

            This "girl" was happy to enlighten all of you on why the bill should be SIGNED.

            Regardless of your inability to admit to reason, your error in judgement, or just basic common sense, you're welcome for the enlightenment.

          • The bookman

            Girls,

            The point is that the flaw requires action to avoid the OT exemption oversight in the bill. Period. It needs to be vetoed on that basis alone as there is no certainty or assurance the fix will in fact be made by the legislature or DOL. Once it's law, it's law. No one is really standing against the $1.50. Why are you being so steadfast in your resistance to a veto?

          • Aaron

            My stance has been consistent on every thread regarding this subject. I believe there was no mistake in removing the OT exemptions. I believe legislators intentionally removed many of those exemptions, including firefighters in the hope of sliding them through and rewarding many who support their party. I believe that has been a goal of that party and the Governor is part of the deception by Democratic leaders and as such, if he were to sign the law as it is currently written, there would be no special session to 'fix' the bill. I think much of the outrage from the left are from those who supported these exemptions and are upset that the lawyer caught Democrats up in their lies and deception.

            But even if I am wrong on all those counts and the current bill is all the result of an honest mistake by our incompetent legislatures who intend on 'fixing' the bill, it will require a special session of ALL legislatures and as such, why not simply support a veto of the bill, have our, hope our incompetent legislatures somehow become competent in rewriting the bill during the special session and hold a ceremony celebrating Democrats pushing through a minimum wage increase closer to the election. After all, they have time as the law will not take effect until January 1, 2015.

            As far as I am concerned, as that is the ONLY method that provides transparency, it is the only way to go. That has been my line of thinking all along.

            From what I can gather from your anecdotal comments and braggadocios statements, you seem to think thought that the bill can be 'fixed' by some sort of sleight of hand maneuvering with less than a full legislature present and it’s as “simple” as that. The way I see it, that approach belies a hidden agenda that is meant to push through as many exemptions as Democrats can at which point, they will claim further “mistakes” should their deception see the light of day.

            I have ask you and your little sidekick to give a reasonable explanation as to why you favor back-dooring a fix instead of transparency and as of yet, neither of you have responded with anything even slightly resembling an intelligent response. Instead, you play word games and try implying that those who do not agree without you have yet to prove harm or claim no jobs have been lost yet.

            As such, I'll make this as simple as I can for you and Wonder Girl. Given that regardless of how this flawed bill is fixed, whether it be through vetoing and writing a good bill or signing this flawed bill into law, WV Legislatures WILL BE required to come to Charleston for legislative action, why not do it the right way so that there is no further misunderstandings or incorrect language in the bill? If you and she can give a reasonable, thought out, intelligent, answer to that simple question then I will apologize, admit the error of my ways and move on.

            There is no “but if you can’t” because I know you can’t. I just think it will be interesting watching the two of you try to weasel-word some sort of clever response given that you've failed so badly up to this point.

            Good luck.

          • Tina B

            I guess "and" vs "or" is too difficult of a concept for Aaron to understand.

          • Stacey

            I understand why you are choosing to ignore "OR" with that being the key part of the sentence. It makes your error apparent. It is disappointing that you cannot own up and admit your mistake but to each his own.

          • Aaron

            From the article which you cited...

            "...during a Special Session."

            Enough said.

            DA'es

          • Tina B

            Sounds like Aaron has an "inability to read and comprehend" the article. Stacey, you burned him. You burned him badly.

            He's definitely full of puffery.

          • Stacey

            Apparently, you didn't READ the article above.

            "Any issues with the bill, he said, could be addressed through emergency rules from the Division of Labor or adjustments during a Special Session."

            Obviously, you are not as bright as you think you are about the issues.

          • Aaron

            What part of it cannot be changed in that manner do you not understand? Is that really a difficult concept?

            If what you said was an option, we would not be having this debate in the fIrst place, it would have just been gone.

            The fact that no one, including you before today has even suggested this as a possibility is further proof that it is not an option.

            Unless you can provide a link demonstrating what say is feasible, I'll consider your comments puffery.

          • Stacey

            It can't be fixed in that manner UNLESS it becomes law.

            He should sign the bill and have the DOL rules change. If that doesn't it clarify it enough then do full legislative action but if it can be fixed with a rules change, that is common sense approach.

          • Aaron

            If it were that simple, it would have been changed in that manner. But the fact is, you are wrong, it's not that simple. Changing a law takes full legislative action.

          • Stacey

            If it's fixed with a DOL rules change there will not have to be full legislative action. That is why and the argument is that simple.

          • Aaron

            Unless legislatures allow the exemptions to stand, one way or another the legislature will have to take action.

            Whether that is to veto the bill and pass a new one that raises the minimum wage without the exemptions or to sign the flawed bill and then attempt to fix it after the fact, legislatures will be required to come to Charleston and take action.

            In all your comments, you have yet to provide one logical, reasonable argument as to why the Governor should sign a flawed bill that can do unintended harm.

            The ONLY reason I can see to sign the flawed bill is if the elimination of exemptions was indeed intended.

            I do not disagree with the minimum wage increase so there is not need to state the governor NEEDS to sign this bill. What I would like to see is a valid argument as to why it should not be fixed first.

          • Stacey

            Signing the bill to raise the minimum wage is what the bill is intended to do and that is what this bill does.

            It should be signed.

          • Aaron

            If the fix is so simple, then why not veto the bill, fix it and submit a corrected version to the governor to sign.

            The ONLY reason to sign a flawed bill is if the flaw was intentional. If that is the case then legislatures need to cowboy up and publicly support their failed bait and switch. The problem is, there are no leaders in our legislature.

          • Stacey

            You don't get the bill. There were exemptions that were removed so minimum wage would cover employers.

            It is an easy fix that is not a big deal that won't do anything to you or me. So what? If people have lost their jobs, that would matter but this does not make anything happen.

            People are getting soft in this country. Wait until something big really happens and then whine. This? This is nothing in the big scheme of life.

          • Aaron

            Very well stated Mr. Guy?

          • ViennaGuy

            Read my original post again, please.

            "We wouldn't be going through this" refers to the argument over the bill itself and its unintended consequences. The Legislature has a history of taking simple proposals and twisting them into giant screw-ups. Again, I said NOTHING negative about the minimum wage increase or jobs. I am talking about the legislative process, not the wage increase. Have I made that clear enough?

            Let's face facts: the Legislature took what should have been a simple, straightforward minimum wage increase and, in a way that only the Legislature could do it, screwed it up in a big way! It is not the job of some state regulatory agency to clean up the Legislature's mess. The Legislature made a mistake, so the Legislature should be held accountable and be made to fix it. If Senator Kessler and Speaker Miley were true leaders, they'd be asking the governor to 1) veto the bill and 2) call a special session so that this issue can be properly and correctly addressed. But will Kessler and Miley do it? Clearly not, because they seem to be more interested in claiming the political high ground going into the fall elections. Demanding that a state agency clean up their mess - and there's no question that they own this mess - is irresponsible and shows a lack of true leadership. True leaders will stand up, take responsibility for their mistakes, and fix them. I see no such actions from Kessler and Miley.

            The mayor of Wheeling is dead-on right - it should be vetoed and redone. All the Legislature has to do is pass a simple, straightforward, one-page bill that raises the minimum wage by $1.50/hour. Is it really that hard?