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Assembly committee takes up bill tossing some "living wage" ordinances

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin lawmakers were hearing testimony Wednesday on a bill to throw out local "living wage" ordinances.

The Assembly's Labor Committee began a public hearing on a measure from Delafield Republican Chris Kapenga.

He said he wanted to nullify an ordinance passed last week by the Milwaukee County Board. It requires a minimum wage of $11.32 an hour for county government employees and those contracted by the county.

Kapenga said it would not totally remove local control on the subject -- because the living wage ban would only apply in cases where state and federal money is involved.

County Executive Chris Abele opposes the living wage measure, but has not said whether he'll veto it.

Dane County and the cities of Milwaukee and Madison have living wage ordinances higher than the state and federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he asked Kapenga to scale back his measure. Vos wants it to apply only when state tax funds to a community are higher than they otherwise would be without a living wage requirement.

Vos said he disagreed with the Milwaukee County Board's measure -- but he said communities do get to make some decisions.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)