On Friday, the North Dakota House killed a bill sponsored by Rep. LaurieBeth Hager (D-Fargo), which would have raised the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour. Only one Republican voted in favor of the bill.
North Dakota hasn’t increased its minimum wage in 13 years. Meanwhile the cost of living has gone up 34%.
In her House Floor speech, Rep. Hager emphasized that many North Dakotans make $7.25 an hour saying “You probably don’t see these people unless you drive past the food pantries, and see them waiting in line and wondering why they don’t have enough money. There are people in our state earning seven dollars and 25 cents an hour—an hour to buy two gallons of gas. We need to take care of those people… Voting on this bill today will show that we see them and that we care, and that we don’t want people in our state living in poverty.”
All three states that border North Dakota have higher minimum wages. Minnesota’s is $10.59, South Dakota’s is $10.80, and Montana’s is $9.95. These states understand that raising the minimum wage is a helpful tool in addressing workforce shortages and attracting new people to the state.
Rep. Hager has said she will continue the fight to decrease poverty by increasing the minimum wage in North Dakota. She intends to spearhead an initiated measure, and let the citizens vote on this issue. She noted that both Nebraska and Nevada put this issue on the ballot, and the people successfully increased their minimum wage, and she is confident North Dakota will too.