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Oregon House Speaker Launches New Minimum Wage Hike Attempt

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has proposed a $13 state minimum wage.
Oregon legislature
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has proposed a $13 state minimum wage.

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek said she thinks the state's minimum wage should rise to $13 per hour.

The Democrat Monday unveiled a proposal that would raise the state's base pay from its current $9.25 per hour over the next three years. Kotek said that while $13 per hour isn't as high as some activists wanted, it should help lift some people out of poverty.

"There's no perfect number but if we can make sure people are living above the poverty line when they work full time, and we can make sure that people have pretty much enough to meet their basic necessities, then we've done our job,” she said.

Kotek will testify in favor of her proposal in front of a House committee this week. But the measure appears to face long odds. Senate President Peter Courtney has said publicly he doesn't think the time is right for lawmakers to act on a minimum wage hike. A spokesman said Monday that Courtney has not changed his opinion on the issue.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.