A Lowe's employee walks through the parking lot as shoppers walk to their car after shopping at a store in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Working at Lowe's
A Lowe's employee walks through the parking lot as shoppers walk to their car after shopping at a store in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

If Democrats can make sizable gains on the Republican majority in Harrisburg this election, maybe we’ll finally see some movement on the minimum wage.

Pennsylvania’s paltry $7.25 an hour minimum wage celebrated its 13th anniversary this year. Democratic state lawmakers have introduced bills every year since 2009 to increase it, but their efforts have been blocked by the GOP majority in Harrisburg.

While Republicans have held that majority in both the state House and state Senate for more than two decades, Democrats have the potential to make a dent in it on Election Day with 203 House seats and half of the Senate seats up for reelection. Voters can play a big part in determining what the future of the minimum wage will look like in the commonwealth.

Some Dems up for reelection have introduced measures during the 2021-2022 legislative session to raise the minimum wage. Republicans, naturally, haven’t budged. Depending on the makeup of the state House and Senate after the dust settles from Election Day, some of these stalled Democratic bills may get a second look. But if Republicans maintain a strong majority in the state legislature, minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania shouldn’t expect a pay raise anytime soon. 

Let’s take a look at those Democrat-proposed minimum wage bills: 

House Bills

HB 15

House Bill 15 was introduced by Rep. Chriss Rabb (D-Philadelphia) in March 2021. It proposes immediately raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour and then increasing it incrementally to $15 an hour by 2027. After 2027, the wage is raised annually by a cost-of-living adjustment. The bill awaits a vote in the Labor and Industry Committee.

Rabb represents the 200th legislative district, which includes part of Philadelphia County. He faces Republican Kionna West in the November election.

HB 345

House Bill 345 was introduced by Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) in April 2021. It proposes immediately raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour with incremental increases each year after that until it reaches $15 an hour in 2027. The bill awaits a vote in the Labor and Industry Committee.

Kim represents the 103rd legislative district, which includes part of Dauphin County. She faces Republican David Buell in the November election.

HB 923

House Bill 923 was introduced by Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia) in March 2021. It proposes that municipalities set a localized minimum wage based on the cost of living for the area and other factors. The bill awaits a vote in the Labor and Industry Committee.

Boyle represents the 172nd legislative district, which includes part of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. He faces Republican Al Taubenberger in the November election.

Senate Bills

SB 12

Senate Bill 12 was introduced by Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) in February 2021. It proposes immediately raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour, with incremental increases each year after that until it reaches $15 an hour in 2027. The bill awaits a vote in the Labor and Industry Committee.

Tartaglione represents the 2nd senatorial district, which includes part of Philadelphia County. She is running unopposed in the November election.

SB 332

Tartaglione also introduced Senate Bill 332 in March 2021. It proposes immediately raising the tipped minimum wage—which is currently $2.83 an hour—to $3.95 an hour. It would then increase to 70% of the minimum wage the next year—which would be $5.07 if the minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour. After that, the tipped wage would be linked to the minimum wage, rising concurrently. The bill awaits a vote in the Labor and Industry Committee.

SB 625

Senate Bill 625 was introduced by Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) in May 2021. This bill proposes immediately raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour, then increasing it by 2% every year for six years, or until 2027. After that, the yearly increase would drop to 1%. The bill awaits a vote in the Labor and Industry Committee.

Fontana represents the 42nd senatorial district, which includes part of Allegheny County. He is running unopposed in the November election.