Which side are you on? House members will choose today!

Today, Thursday 02/17 there will be a floor vote on HB2510. It will be interesting to see who votes Yes in support of delaying the $18 increase until 2030, who votes No and stands firm with working people, and who votes with reservations “WR”, attempting to appease both sides.

At the House Labor & Tourism HB2510 hearing this past Tuesday, 85% of the public testimony supported a minimum wage of $18 by 2026, not 2030. But as you can guess, the committee chose to ignore the testimony and pass HB2510 delaying raising the wage to $18 until 2030 AND treating restaurant servers like second-class citizens by paying them even less.

There is no question whatsoever that SB2018 is a much better bill for low-wage working families. It achieves the $18 threshold in 2026, has passed all the hurdles in the Senate, and has the support of the Governor.

Representatives who cast solid yes votes today will no doubt echo the talking points of the various business lobbyists saying that HB2510 includes the expansion of various tax credits and thus represents a “comprehensive” approach. These same speeches will ignore the fact that passing Senate bill SB2018 does not preclude or prevent them from also passing other bills with those same tax credits. It is not an either-or choice.

The main objective of these lobbyists and their enablers is to delay the increase as long into the future as possible, and/or just get the issue into conference committee and have it die there – behind closed doors, without fingerprints or accountability.

Today’s vote is essentially a litmus test.

Each Representative must state publically via their vote and floor remarks, whose interests they serve. Are they going to be on the side of working people or will they simply go along to get along with the business lobby who’s mantra is “no time is a good time” and “the longer we can stretch this out the better”.

Representative Roy Takumi says it well in this Civil Beat piece published recently:
“As expected, the business community opposes any effort to increase workers’ wages saying that now is not the right time.

This is nothing new. When the economy is going well, the business community testifies that an increase isn’t necessary or needed since businesses pay more to attract workers.

When the economy is not going well, the business community testifies that any increase will lead to layoffs and closures. In other words, there is never a right time. Actually, now more than ever, we should raise the minimum wage.” Workers Deserve A (Barely) Living Wage (https://www.civilbeat.org/2022/02/rep-roy-takumi-workers-deserve-a-barely-living-wage/)

The fundamental question for Representatives this morning is:

Pete Seeger “Which Side Are You On?” ()
(you really, really, should click and listen to this classic labor anthem)

“Which side are you on boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on boys?
Which side are you on?

They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there.
You’ll either be a union man
Or a thug for J. H. Blair.

Which side are you on boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on boys?
Which side are you on?

My daddy was a miner,
And I’m a miner’s son,
He’ll be with you fellow workers
Until this battle’s won.

Which side are you on?…”

Please ask your district Representative this question if you get a moment this morning. A complete list and contact info for all Representatives. Or if you plug in your address into “Find Your Legislator” and you can easily identify your specific District Representative and contact info.
Gary Hooser
Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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3 Responses to Which side are you on? House members will choose today!

  1. Maria Maitino says:

    Thank you Gary for this information. I did sending testimony on Monday, but I did not see this blog post until now. How can I find out how my representatives voted? Thank you so much for keeping us informed of so many very important issues. Your care for the people of Hawaii, and specifically my island Kauai, is obvious. Your work is critical. With gratitude, Maria


    • garyhooser says:

      Thank you Maria. The Kauai Reps all voted the wrong way, unfortunately. Like most of these situations…I am sure they have their reasons and I’m sure they are hoping that things turn out for the best…but they voted the wrong way today if they truly wanted to do what was best of workers. IMHO

  2. Pingback: Progressives Should be Embarrassed to Support HB2510 - regarding frost

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