You are on page 1of 10


Bryant, Gilbert, Gill, Lattin
Professor Killingsworth-Lee
Texas Government
Bill HB-396
“Having Texas families be financially strong and independent would no doubt
have a great positive effect on the Texas economy, and most importantly, would
contribute to a brighter future for all Texans” - Ruth McClendon, Texas Legislator of the
Democratic Party.
Bill HB396 from the 81st legislative session this year deals with the topic of
minimum wage. The background of the bill starts when bill hb396 was presented to a
hearing with the House of Business and Industry. The author of the bill, Ruth
McClendon, stated how through the course of 2016 to 2017 the minimum wage of Texas
would eventually increase to the amount of $10.10. Every year after that the minimum
wage would be adjusted by the Texas work force commission based upon the consumer
price index. Even though the bill only reached the House of Business and Industry there
is still hope that someday, with more advocacy and awareness on the behalf of the public,
it may play a role in Texas law.
Regarding the background on the policy of the federal and state level, it is a short
story. Until 2009, when federal law stepped in and made 7.25 the mandatory minimum
wage per hour, Texas had no official rule or guidance policy on our minimum wage, with


the wage being as low as 6.55 to .25 cents. If it wasn’t for the federal jurisdiction
intervention, Texas would have kept its’ flexible tabs on the minimum wage policy since
it was popular for businesses to make their own hourly wage.
The history of federal policies on minimum wage has a rough beginning. It was
believed that by inflicting a federal policy with minimum wage that it would be a hit
towards the economy and funding as well as an unpopular topic for big business.
Although it was viewed to have undesirable effects it was set into motion by FLSA (Fair
Labor Standards Act) in the 1940’s. The United States steadily raised the minimum wage
from .40 cents, to .75 cents and would continue to be steadily raised through the decades
to come. However, the middle class out grew this policy; they began to fight to earn a fair
wage to support individuals and families and the standard of living went up as a result.
History of state policies starts with federal intervention, there were no
distinct or written documents pertaining to the minimum wage of Texas until 2009 when
the FLSA raised the mandatory wage to 7.25 an hour. The cost of living has gone up
within the last 7 or so years, and with the housing market crash it is very hard for
minimum wageworkers to successfully find somewhere to live while also supporting
themselves. This is one of the main reasons the FLSA raised it to 7.25 in 2009, so that
these people may have a chance. Additionally, where we are as a state as of now and with
our current economy the wage raise needs to happen again.
The authors and sponsors of the bill include Ruth McClendon as the lead author
and her co-sponsor Borris L. Miles who supported her in the house. Ruth McClendon is
a prominent social political figure in San Antonio, being presented with over 400 awards


for her services to the public in her position as a legislature. Borris L. Miles is in a
position of a legislature as well as an owner of an insurance company, and highly
acclaimed by his community as well winning numerous awards. The districts of which
they serve and represent is District 120 for Ruth McClendon, of which is in San Antonio
and Borris Miles represents District 146 of Texas in Houston. Both McClendon and
Miles are of the Democratic Party, holding a moderate to slightly liberal stance in
politics. Both have mentioned that they strive to help the public and the working class.
McClendon and Miles believe deeply in giving back to their community and their beliefs
truly shine throughout their careers. Borris has seen at least 25 laws passed in his support,
and McClendon seeing about 150 bills go through with her support as well. Ruth
McClendon has served on numerous committees such as serving as chair of the Rules and
Resolutions Committee, sits on the Transportation and Appropriations committees, and
many more. Borris has served on the Licensing and Administrative Procedures, State and
Federal Power and Responsibility and Appropriations committees, and others. Prompted
to write and propose this bill as stated earlier, was Ruth McClendon. She stated in our
recent interview that her reasoning for introducing the bill was her belief in the
importance for all workers to be paid a livable fair wage to support themselves and their
families. “I believe it is important for all workers to be paid fairly and Texas has a high
number of workers living near or below federal poverty level. Texas is a family state and
the current wage level is detrimental to the “working poor” who are responsible for
supporting a family.” – Ruth McClendon
The details of the purpose of bill HB396 is that in 2016 employers would
have to pay workers 8.75 and in the following year raise the pay to 10.10 per hour. The


following year and every year after the minimum wage will be calculated based upon the
consumer price index from the previous year. The bill is designed to set the minimum
wage for workers at a rate that is consistent with the livable earning wage. Many worry
about the funding and effect it will have on big business though the bill will be paid for
through local and state governments. The expected cost to the budget could range from
345 million to 385 million. Most of the impact will be for employees working for
contracted companies.
HB 396 has several support groups as well as opposing groups in Texas.
Supporters the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP), Texas AFL-CIO, Workers
Defense Project, Southwest Pipe Trades Association, The Texas Catholic Conference of
Bishops, Texas Building and Construction Trades Council, National Association of Social
Workers, Texas Democratic Party, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal
Employees, Texas State Employees Union, Progress Texas, Texas American Federation of
Teachers, Texans Care for Children, City of Austin, and several other individuals. All are
geared towards helping the working class of our state and strive for the success of
families and hard working individuals.
Opposition groups are more of the big business category with the Texas
Restaurants Association, Texas Food and Fuel Association, Texas Eagle Forum, Texas
Association of Business, Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, Fredericksburg
Tea Party, National Federation of Independent Business, Texas Retailers Association, and
several other individuals. This has been a long battle for the US with a consistent battle of
those supporting bills and those opposing bill for a higher minimum wage. When we look
at other states in the US though we can see how they have dealt with the issue.


Many states have begun to take on the issue of minimum wage, due to the threat
of strike ever imminent and the pressure of the federal government on their backs. One
such state is California, which has implemented their own law on the matter, House bill
AB-10 which maintains that the minimum wage needed to be raised. House bill AB-10 is
a three step process in which the minimum wage was bumped from the federal rate of
$7.25 to $8.00 as of January 1st 2008, then again to a rate of $9.00 on July 1st 2014 and on
Jan 1st 2016 will be raised for the third time to 10.00 an hour. (LegiScan) The bill is being
implemented in the hopes of not only appeasing workers but also to encourage spending
by the working class and thus boost the overall economy.
The main author of the bill is Luis Alejo a Democrat in California. Luis Alejo was
born and raised in California. Throughout his life he has held several different political
offices in California. He was officially elected to the assembly in 2010 to represent the
28th district. In 2012 he was reelected to represent the newly formed 30th district and it
was after his re-election that he authored bill AB-10. John Perez and Derrell Steinberg
were the two sponsors of the bill. Both sponsors are California residents who affiliate
with the Democratic Party and have held several political offices within the state. Darrell
Steinberg represents the 6th district and John Perez represented the 53rd district.
The bill AB-10 went through the whole process and was continually “yea’d” by
committees and assembly. It was presented officially after going through committee,
assembly, and senate on September 18, 2013. After reading and assessing the bill AB-10
the Governor approved it on September 25, 2013. The bill AB-10 was officially passed
on September 25, 2013 and was then chaptered by the Secretary of State. (LegiScan)


The response from the public to this bill was highly supportive. This was
especially true of the working class because this is what they had been fighting for. This
gave working class people the ability for a better life, a new way of living. This was
especially true for wait staff who before had only been guaranteed their $2.15 an hour. In
the eyes of the people this was a bill that was long over-due but denied because those in
power did not have to worry about the little people. Public opinion of AB-10 was that this
bill was the start of a new era and support rallied behind it. (Fields)
However not everyone liked the idea. Bill AB-10 had a lot of opposition.
Republicans, small business, and many opposition groups said that this bill would bring
nothing but disaster. Many stated that the bill would kill jobs not increase them becausr
enforcing a higher pay meant that businesses could only afford a lower amount of
workers. They also stated that this bill would be the end to small business. (Fields) One
of the biggest opposition groups was the California Restraunts association highly who
opposed the bill very loudly and said it was detrimental to the industry.
California Bill AB-10 and Texas Bill HB-396 are similar in several ways. Both
bills outlined a gradual increase, with several increments set, before hitting the final
desired minimum wage. In the eyes of the legislators this allowed businesses to make the
necessary changes and did not overwhelm them on a broad scale. Both bills also had
major support from the Democratic Party and major opposition from the Republican
Parties. The general consensus behind this seems to be that Democrats sided with the
“little people” and that an increased minimum wage guaranteed not only a better life for
the individuals but the economy as a whole. However, Republicans tended to side with


the businesses or “big man” in saying that it would be detrimental to the whole industry
as a whole with loss of jobs, money, and market.
There were also differences between California Bill AB-10 and Texas Bill HB396. California’s bill AB-10 allowed that even wait staff would be receiving the
mandated minimum wage as well as tips while the Texas bills left out wait staff. It did not
acknowledge any change to pay or a process that might be implemented. Also,
California’s bill had a three step increase based upon a 3 year outline. One increase per
year till it was at $10.00. Texas increase theirs over two years and in turn did not give
businesses the time to adjust and assimilate to the bill like California did. (Tx Legislature
Online) The bill in California had a great impact because it allowed workers who were
struggling in a very high priced economy to increase their income and thus increase their
opportunity within their society. If the Texas bill had passed it could have had the same
The bill HB 396 is the bill on minimum wage in the state of Texas. This bill was
created by McClendon. Rep. McClendon is a Texas House of Represented. Rep.
McClendon is in charge of the one hundred twentieth District in the state of Texas.
Representative McClendon filed the bill HB 396 into the legislature on November
11, 2014. Representative McClendon was actually ahead and filed the bill early. The
Texas legislature would not be in session till 2015. The Texas legislative sessions happen
every two years and only on odd years. The bill that Representative McClendon file could
not go anywhere till the legislative session began on January 13, 2015. The bill was first
read into the house on the February 18, 2015. After the reading of the bill the bill was


referred to Business and Industry committee. The bill sat in the committee for awhile
before it was scheduled for a public hearing on March 7th, 2015. The day of the hearing
the bill was read before a committee and discussed. After testimony was taken and all
happenings recorded the bill was left pending. The bill ended up dying in committee on
March 7th, 2015 due to being left pending. When no action is made on a bill the bill will
die. Bill HB-396 never made outside the House of Representatives.
The bill HB 396 was not passed due to the major support from special interest
Groups such as specific groups dealing with business advocacy. Conservatives have
argued that a wage hike will destroy jobs, throwing the Texas economy off its axis for
The Minimum Wage Warriors are for HB 396. The Minimum Wage Warriors are
for this bill is because we are productive adult Texas citizens who have worked for less
than we believe we were entitled to. Many times we have worked more than one job at a
time to make ends meet. We are all very aware what it’s like to work a 40 hour a week
receiving a pay check for minimum wage. We have also felt the financial strain increase
as you strive to obtain the American dream, only to realize that it may not be obtainable
to reach even with two adults working minimum wage job. Minimum wage pay only
makes Texans more dependent on government assistance.
HB 396 author and sponsor needs to be resubmit this bill. The wording within the
bill may need to be modified to make it more appealing. The sponsor also need to
resubmit this bill early enough so it can be put on committee calendar so that it may have
enough time to be reviewed properly.


HB 396 needs to be sent to be sent to a committee group that does not have strong
ties with the business interest groups. We need to maybe navigate this bill to a committee
that has economy interest.
Being that this bill is about money and seems to have been shot down by big
business interest groups not wanting to lose all their money, data need to be gathered and
be distributed to those groups showing the improvement that comes with a minimum
wage increase.
Once a specific committee has been picked, Advocacy Groups for HB 396 need to
become down right bothersome to our State Representatives. All advocacy groups need to
engage all support tactics. They also need to be urging citizens to call their
representatives about this bill.

California AB10 | 2013-2014 | Regular Session." LegiScan. LegiScan. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.


Card, D., & Krueger, A. (1995). Myth and Measurement: The new economics of the minimum
wage (Vol 1st). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Clark, S. (2011, March 28). Texas leads nation in minimum wage workers. Retrieved November
7, 2015.
Fields, Liz. "California to Raise Minimum Wage to $10 by 2016." ABC News. ABC News
Network, 15 Sept. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
Gray, E. (2014, February 27). The Wage Warrior. TIME, 37-38.
McClendon, R. (2015, October 17). “Minimum Wage: Bill HB396”. Personal Interview.
Miah, M. (2014, May 1). The Minimum Wage Debate. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
Neumark, D. & Wascher, W. (2008). The Political Economy of Minimum Wages. In Minimum
Wages (1st ed., Vol. 1, pp.249-278). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Stewart, M. (2004, March 4). The employment effects of the national minimum wage. The
Economic Journal, 114(494), C110-C116. Retrieved November 3, 2015
"Texas Legislature Online - Bill HB 396." Texas Legislature Online - Bill HB 396. Texas
Legislatur Online. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
Waltman, J. (2000). The politics of the minimum wage. Urbana: University of Illinois. Press.