In this past election, Florida controversially voted on raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour gradually up until 2026. However, after years of this topic gaining traction, State Senator Jeff Brandes (R) is looking to soften the blow of this SJR 854 amendment in the Florida Senate.
Sen. Brandes' proposal would cut off persons under 21 years of age and convicted felons from the minimum wage increase.
Brandes recently stated that lower wages for “hard-to-hire” groups would help progress from lower-paying jobs to higher-paying jobs.
“This is really about allowing the legislature to offer a training wage and about recognizing that for the formerly incarcerated, it’s sometimes difficult for them to compete with much more skilled workers for jobs,” said Brandes.
As expected, the news sparked uproar within the Florida Democrat Party.
State Senator Shevrin Jones (D), an outspoken progressive pushed back at the Brandes amendment, saying that everyone should be entitled to a "fair wage."
The Floridian reached out to Sen. Jones to allow him to elaborate on his opposition.
"Just because someone is under the age of 21 does not mean he/she doesn't have responsibilities," said Jones. Jones concluded that "Everyone don't live in gated communities or high rises like some of our legislators."
Jones continued, saying that "if we are serious about criminal justice reform, we must ensure that we are not putting barriers up that will cause returning citizens to find themselves back in the system, let them live!"
In terms of convicted felons, Jones posed the question, "If we are serious about criminal justice reform, we must ensure that we are not putting barriers up that will cause returning citizens to find themselves back in the system?"