Bill to Raise Texas Minimum Wage Filed by San Antonio State Senator

Many Texans would be getting a pay raise under a plan to hike the state's minimum wage, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

"I think people who are working full time should not be living in poverty," San Antonio State Senator Jose Menendez says.

Debates over the minimum wage have been a part of just about every Texas legislative session, and the upcoming one that starts in January will be no exception.  This week, lawmakers could start pre-filing bills.

Menendez (D-San Antonio) filed SB-113, setting the minimum wage at $10.10 an hour.  The current starting pay is $7.25.

He says this is not a radical idea.

"I see the signs all over the place like Bill Miller's and others, advertising $12 an hour."

In past legislative session, economists have argued that raising the minimum wage too high would cause job losses, although it's unclear about how high is too high.

This upcoming session could be different.  Democrats flipped 12 seats in the Texas House.  That's the biggest shift since 2010.  And nationwide, there has a shift towards raising starting pay.  Voters in Arkansas approved a minimum-wage increase to $11 an hour by 2021.   And in Missouri, Proposition B asked voters to approve raising the statewide minimum wage to $12 per hour.  

It easily passed.

But Sen. Menendez's bill will face an uphill battle.  The staunchly conservative governor and lieutenant governor easily won re-election, and in the Texas Senate, the GOP still holds 19 seats, which is enough to pass legislator without the need for Democrats to cross the aisle.

Still, Menendez is optimistic.

"I would hope that if you work an honest, fully day of work that you get enough that you can sustain your family."