Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley is urging the state to increase the minimum wage, saying Alabama has a moral duty to help the poor. But Republican Governor Bob Riley says his challenger in the gubernatorial race is pushing an issue that's the responsibility of Congress.
Baxley advocates a state law mandating a minimum wage of 6 dollars and 15 cents per hour by next year, and she held a rally Wednesday in Birmingham with supporters and union members to promote the idea.
The governor says he expects the minimum wage -- which is set by Congress -- to be increased by as much as 2 dollars an hour.
Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is the lowest it has been in 50 years. It has not been increased since 1996.
However, only a fraction of the state's 1.2 million hourly workers are currently making the federal minimum of 5 dollars and 15 cents an hour.