HB1263, introduced by Rep. Marvin Nelson, a Democrat from Rolla, would do two things:
- Raise North Dakota’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.25 per hour on January 1, 2018.
- Mandate automatic, annual increases in the wage at the rate of inflation.
Not surprisingly, the legislation got a cool reception from North Dakota’s lawmakers. Rep. Glenn Bosch, a Republican from Bismarck who carried the bill out of committee, asked that lawmakers “allow the free market and North Dakota’s demand for labor” drive wages in the state.
But in rebuttal, Nelson rose to attack the free market. “If we have a true free market…we will have serfdom and slavery,” he said.
He argued that a hike in the minimum wage could be implemented with “minimal if any negative effects.” He also said that raising the minimum wage could “shrink government.” How so? He says the state’s Human Services budget would shrink when people making the minimum wage got more income.
Rep. George Keiser, a Republican from Bismarck, pointed out that the automatic increases could be problematic given the ups and downs of the state’s economy. He pointed out that recent reports show North Dakota’s average weekly incomes going down, no doubt fallout from the end of the oil-driven economic boom of recent years. But this legislation would allow for no similar adjustment in the minimum wage.
The law would mandate that the wage only go up.
The bill failed on a 13-77 vote.
Here’s the video: