Lawmakers sponsor minimum-wage bills across the country

BY Elisabeth Ponsot  January 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM EDT

A national review by the Associated Press shows lawmakers in more than half of U.S. states are sponsoring or are expected to introduce legislation for minimum-wage increases.

Fast-food workers protested outside a Burger King restaurant in Los Angeles in August. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The push is primarily coming from Democrats in statehouses, who are trying to achieve minimum-wage hikes on the state level absent federal legislation.

Jason Zengerle of POLITICO magazine wrote earlier this month that Democrats are likely to make minimum-wage legislation a “centerpiece” of 2014 midterm election efforts.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month, American voters overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage, by a wide margin of 71 to 21 percent.

Neil Sroka, communications director at Democracy for America, told the AP the strategy is “a no-brainer for any Democrat.”

Opponents contend wage increases may mean fewer jobs and higher costs for consumers.

More PBS NewsHour reporting on the minimum wage:

Life in the cash economy for “underbanked” Americans (Dec. 15, 2013)

Calculating a living wage across the United States (Dec. 15, 2013)

Poverty rates surge in American suburbs (Jan. 11, 2014)