Cook County Board of Commissioners
Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee
October 25, 2016
This committee made up of all commissioners voted (12 to 3 with one absent and one voting present) in favor of an Ordinance Creating a Living Wage in Cook County, which raises the minimum wage throughout the county from the current $8.25 per hour to:
$10.00 on July 1, 2017
$11.00 on July 1, 2018
$12.00 on July 1, 2019
$13.00 on July 1, 2020
with increases after that based on the CPI (Consumer Price Index) not to exceed 2.5% per year. (Agenda Item 16-5768)
Also passed overwhelmingly was An Ordinance Governing the Safe Disposal of Pharmaceuticals that outlines a plan for the safe disposal of unwanted, unused pharmaceuticals throughout the county using sheriff facilities, pharmacies, and other drop-off areas. (Agenda Item 16-1983)
The minimum wage topic had numerous members of organizations and the general public speaking in favor and against this ordinance. Those in favor generally spoke to how difficult it is to live on minimum wage. Those against spoke mostly on how it would hurt small businesses and those businesses that have very small profit margins. Also mentioned was that many businesses would have to reduce employee count or employee hours to accommodate the increased costs. The Retail Association stressed that this was one more requirement put on Cook County businesses lately—also paid sick leave, higher sales tax, higher property tax, and a possible sweetened beverage tax—which may cause some businesses to shut down or leave the county.
The pharmaceutical ordinance had several speakers from all “sides” speaking in favor of this since it has been worked on by all affected groups for several months to come up with a compromise/acceptable ordinance. There will be a regulation board setting up and controlling procedures for this ordinance.
Almost assuredly, both of these ordinance proposals will be voted on and passed at the regular Cook County Board meeting on October 26 since the same commissioners (all 17) are on both this committee and the Board.
Observer - Karin Hribar
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