Wehrli wanted wording changed in minimum wage bill
Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) spoke out in opposition to a bill that would raise the minimum wage in Illinois on Wednesday during a House Labor and Commerce Committee hearing.
The House approved the bill on Thursday.
Wehrli questioned how Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) could say there was no compelling evidence that the bill would harm businesses or the economy.
"To what point does that go? At some point there is a tipping point," Wehrli said.
Wehrli also questioned wording in the bill that said an employee must work 90 days for a company, which he believed needed to be changed to "employed."
"Never in my life have I worked 90 consecutive days," Wehrli said. "Change (the wording in the bill) to employed—not worked. We have 50 legislative days. Let’s amend this, and it might help you get some votes."
Several members of the business community spoke in opposition to the bill at the hearing.
Colin Dalough, director of governmental affairs and business development for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the bill would have a different impact on different employers.
"This shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all policy," he said. "Details matter dramatically. We are asking you to find a solution that works for everyone."
Karen Conn of Conn's Hospitality Group said economies outside of Chicago will be harmed by the bill and that lawmakers needed to find what would be best for the whole state—not just areas such as Chicago.
Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said people had called him in tears, saying they could not get the math to work—meaning they could not find a way to pay employees $15 per hour and keep their businesses afloat.
Several business representatives spoke in favor of the bill, including one from a Chicago coffee shop.
The committee voted with 19 in favor and 10 opposed. The bill was then sent on to the House floor, where it was approved on Thursday.