Hourly pay was on the docket in Helena on Monday. Lawmakers are pushing to increase the state's minimum wage by almost $2.00 an hour.
Representative Mary Ann Dunwell from Helena was pleased to have her bill heard on Martin Luther King Day, saying Dr. King believed fair pay was a human right. Dunwell says a livable wage in Montana is $14.40 an hour for an individual and $19.00 for someone with a child. If passed, the increase would take place in January of 2018 and adjust to the cost of living each year thereafter. Opponents of the bill argued it would force businesses to increase prices and cut jobs. In response, the Montana Chamber of Commerce said businesses should be setting the wage rate based on the economy, not legislation.