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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Experts: $15 minimum wage would benefit 1 million Ohioans

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Friday, May 10, 2024   

Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for most Ohio workers and create a refundable Ohio Earned Income Tax Credit.

Ohio's minimum wage is $10.45 per hour for most employees, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Policy Matters Ohio economist Michael Shields said provisions in Ohio law weaken minimum-wage protections for certain groups, including workers younger than 16, workers who have a disability and tipped workers.

"Employers who staff tipped workers are allowed to claim a portion of those workers' tips and use it to offset the wages that they pay those workers," he said. "So, tipped workers can be paid as little as $5.25 per hour."

A citizen's ballot initiative to raise the wage will appear before voters this November if it gathers the more than 442,000 valid signatures needed by July 23 to be included on the ballot. Shields said increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would benefit nearly 1 million Ohioians, around 30% of whom are Black and Latino workers.

Shields said everyone deserves to be paid a wage that honors the value of work and is proportional to cost of living. Despite increases in worker productivity over the past few decades, he said employers have successfully kept wages down.

"The typical Ohio worker today produces about 76% more than their counterpart did at the end of the 1970s," he said, "but over that timeframe, wages for the worker in the middle, the median worker has gone up by just 4%."

If passed, the ballot measure would take effect in 2026. Senate Bill 256 would go into effect in 2028.

This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.


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