ORLANDO, Fla. - Residents across Central Florida have some strong opinions about a proposed amendment to change the $15 minimum wage which voters passed into law in November.
State Senator Jeffrey Brandes wants to reduce the minimum wage for prisoners in the state correctional system, convicted felons, workers under 21 years old, and other "hard to hire employees." The part about convicted felons is not sitting well with many folks.
"Everybody deserves a second chance," said Jacynth Allen.
"Everybody needs a second chance too, to not have money they might go out there and do something wrong again, so pay them," said Richard added.
Sen. Brandes said this could actually help those groups of people find work. On Twitter, the senator defends this saying, "because the unemployment rate for those groups before the wage increase was higher than 20 percent...it will be much higher after without this," meaning his proposed change could help them get jobs.
He also defended not having to pay those under 21 as much either saying, "research shows youth unemployment goes up when you raise the minimum wage because they’re now competing with higher-skilled workers," citing 2006 data from the University of Georgia. Allen points out there are many teens working after school jobs helping their parents put food on the table and young adults putting themselves through college.
"You’d be surprised how grown up a lot of these teenagers are," Allen said.
Scott Pruitt views the subject from a different perspective.
"I’m not really one that even believes in the $15 minimum wage right now. I think the minimum wage is what it is. If you want to make more money, get yourself educated and go further than that," Pruitt said.
However, he can’t get behind this bill either.
"I don’t believe they should be able to pick and choose who they want to pay and who they don’t want to pay. They should be able to pick and choose who they hire on whatever way they want to hire. I’m not sure payment is the way to do that. I don’t think businesses choosing that is the way to go," Pruitt added.
Lawmakers could vote on this in November.
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