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Idaho Representative: Minimum wage bill not likely to get to vote

Idaho's Ways and Means Committee is full of what lawmakers call “personal bills” or bills that don't have to go through the normal committee process. (CBS 2 News Staff Photo)

House Bill 55 or the minimum wage bill was proposed earlier this month by State Representative Sue Chew.

She tells CBS 2 she knows it doesn't have a good chance of getting to the floor, but she said the goal of the bill is to just be seen.

Idaho's Ways and Means Committee is full of what lawmakers call “personal bills” or bills that don't have to go through the normal committee process.

But, Representative Chew said that bills sent to Ways and Means rarely get voted on. That's because the committee doesn't have any scheduled meetings and, in previous years, members haven't met at all.

"When it stays in Ways and Means it means it's not moving,” Chew said.

Representative Chew said that personal bills are mainly about reaching people outside of the House Chambers.

"This puts the draft, the presentation out for everyone to access on their computer, no matter if they work day shift, night shift, whatever crazy hours they can still look at it and then be able to contact me,” Chew said. “Because on the front page is my phone number."

State Representative Ilana Rubel, who put forth nine personal bills this session, said personal bills are another strategy to getting the bill on the floor, if there's a worry it won't get through a committee.

"That committee chair can block anything they don't like and then your bill will never see the light of day,” Rubel said.

But, she added it's still not always the best alternative.

"You still don't get a hearing,” Rubel said. “It gets sent to the ways and means committee where the ways and means chair never calls a hearing on it."

But, she said it's better than nothing.

"It will get a bill number, it will be on the website and the public can see what you've been working on,” Rubel said.

And, Representative Chew said addressing Idahoan's issues is the main point.

"This is one way to be able to get everyone informed,” Chew said. “And, it needs to because we've found folks all over the state, during the legislative election, when we asked them what’s important to them, it's wages, its being able to make a living."

Representative Chew said she and other lawmakers hope to propose another bill, similar to her personal bill, but to a different committee where it may have a better chance of being heard.

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