A local state lawmaker has introduced legislation to amend the minimum-wage bill that was signed into law last year.
State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) recently introduced SB 3396, which would allow for regional control of setting the minimum wage.
The current law will raise the minimum wage to $15 statewide by 2025.
Municipalities or counties would be allowed, by a vote of the local governing body, to opt-out of the state-mandated minimum wage rates and opt-into a regionally adjusted minimum wage which will be statutorily-authorized and statutorily-approved, according to a release by Weaver.
Weaver’s proposed amendment would establish six regions throughout the state to determine the minimum wage. However, the city of Chicago and Cook County would be exempt from this bill.
“This would keep the minimum wage higher in higher cost-of-living areas and would allow for a lower wage in areas with a lower cost of living. It would also help areas that are in direct competition with neighboring states, like Danville, the Metro East and the Quad Cities,” Weaver said.
The bill’s synopsis reads, “Provides that in regions where the minimum wage is reduced, the unit of local government must establish a procedure to increase the local minimum wage by at least 5% per year beginning January 1, 2026 and continuing until the local minimum wage is established at $15 per hour.”
“When the new minimum wage law passed last year, Chicago already had a minimum wage of $13.00, so an increase over six years to $15.00 had minimal impact on Chicago business owners,” Weaver said. “But downstate, where the cost of living is 20-40 percent less than in Chicago and the minimum wage started at $8.25, getting the minimum wage to $15.00 will cost job with the likely result of the lowest-skilled workers being dropped out of the bottom of the workforce. These employees that need access to starting wage jobs are the employees who do not have as many work options.” — State Sen. Chuck Weaver