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The share of Idaho workers earning minimum wage has grown from 5 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012. The growth has put Idaho in the top spot for the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country. How did that happen? And what’s being done to reverse the trend?

Idaho Legislature Putting The Brakes On Bag Bans And Minimum Wage Hikes

Jeff Youngstrom
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In the span of a week, lawmakers in the Idaho House voted to ban cities and counties from banning plastic grocery bags and took up a bill that could ban cities from increasing the minimum wage.

That’s after Hailey residents voted five years ago on a bag ban, and McCall residents voted last year on a higher minimum wage.

Supporters of both pieces of legislation say they're business friendly bills that would keep laws the same across the state.

Gary Moncrief is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Boise State and co-authored the book “Why States Matter.” He studies legislatures across the country. He says such bans are not unusual.

Moncrief says the conservative state legislature is exerting its control over more progressive cities. And he says there’s not much cities can do about it, since they're not sovereign units.

“The state created them, the state can do away with them, the state can take them over. We’ve seen the state take over the administration of schools in New Jersey for example in some cases, so local governments are pretty much at the mercy of the state,” says Moncrief.

The bill to ban plastic grocery bags has passed the House. The bill to ban cities from hiking the minimum wage will get a hearing in the House Business Committee.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio

As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.

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