George Hohmann: Ohio hikes minimum wage
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The minimum wage in Ohio will increase to $7.85 an hour on Tuesday, New Year's Day.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. That's also the rate in West Virginia and all of the states bordering the Mountain State except Ohio, where the current minimum is $7.70.
Ohio's minimum wage changes annually because of an amendment to the state constitution Buckeye State voters passed in 2006, according to the Toledo Blade newspaper. That amendment ties the wage to the inflation rate.
In addition to increasing on Jan. 1 in Ohio, the minimum will go up in almost a dozen states and cities and there are efforts in several other states to hike the wage, according to The Wall Street Journal. But West Virginia isn't among them.
The last increase in West Virginia occurred in 2008, when the minimum went from $6.55 to $7.25.
West Virginia is one of only 13 states to have met the January 2013 deadline set by the federal Real ID Act for issuing secure drivers' licenses, according to the federal Department of Homeland Security, or DHS.
West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Joe Miller last year explained the motivation behind the Real ID law: "Seven of the ... [Sept. 11, 2001] terrorists had authentic driver's licenses that were fraudulently obtained," he said.
The DHS commended the states that have met the standards, as did Brian Zimmer, president of the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License.
Zimmer said in a prepared statement that members of the group he heads "salute the hardworking DMV employees of those 13 states and their management teams for the many hours of conscientious effort required to bring their states into compliance. The Real ID standards are highly complex, and compliance has not been easy for them."
The DHS announced it has granted a "temporary deferment" for all states and territories that have not yet complied with the law so federal agencies can continue to accept their licenses and identification cards for boarding commercial aircraft and for other official purposes.
But the DHS stressed that its goal is to implement the act as required by law and said it will develop a schedule for the phased enforcement of the act.
"Secure driver's licenses and identification documents are a vital component of a holistic national security strategy," the department said. "Law enforcement must be able to rely on government-issued identification documents and know that the bearer of such a document is who he or she claims to be."
I think the most memorable West Virginia news story of 2012 occurred in August when a Silver Airways pilot, operating United Express Flight 4049 bound for Bridgeport with 11 passengers and three crew onboard, landed late at night by mistake at Fairmont's tiny Frankman Field.
The incident prompted the airline to launch a review and CNN reported that the Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation.
Neither the airline nor the FAA responded to queries about the outcome of their probes.
Reach George Hohmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4836.