Governors are getting creative with how they raise their state's minimum wage. According to the New York Times, Steven L. Beshear, the governor of Kentucky, signed an executive order yesterday which increases the hourly minimum wage for "certain state employees" — including those who cook and serve food in government buildings. Many of the 800 employees who are affected by the order currently make $7.25 per hour. However, starting in July, they will make $10.10 per hour.
Beshear is calling for fellow governors to follow suit, especially those with "unsympathetic state legislatures." Beshear adds, "There are a number of states where the chief executive favors raising the minimum wage but has issues with their legislature in terms of getting a statewide minimum wage increase passed. I would certainly encourage them to take a step like this." His executive order comes after a bill to raise the state minimum wage to $10.10 was passed in the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate.
Last month, New York's governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to raise the state's minimum wage by circumventing lawmakers. After a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 per hour in NYC and $10.50 per hour elsewhere in the state was rejected, Cuomo declared that he will convene a panel to look into the minimum wage in the fast food industry. The panel will then make recommendations about what the "adequate wage should be," and those recommendations will go into effect without legislative approval. This is good news for restaurant workers who often live in poverty and have been protesting for higher wages for years now.