After Colorado newspapers initially failed to report on U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's (R-CO) effort to do away with the federal minimum wage, two -- The Pueblo Chieftain and The Denver Post -- have since provided brief coverage. Other Colorado newspapers have yet to report on Allard's minimum wage amendment, but some have published articles on "news" promoted through press releases issued by Allard's office.
Following Colorado Media Matters' observation on January 26 that Colorado newspapers had failed to report U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's (R-CO) attempt to abolish the federal minimum wage by proposing an amendment to the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, The Denver Post and The Pueblo Chieftain briefly reported on Allard's amendment, although the Post failed to note that Allard actually sponsored and promoted the legislation. Before January 28, no Colorado newspaper had noted Allard's minimum wage amendment -- which he submitted January 23 -- although many reported on an unrelated Allard proposal to curb identification theft by illegal immigrants.
Allard apparently did not issue a press release about the minimum wage amendment, which failed by a vote of 69-28 on January 24. He did, however, issue a press release on January 24 promoting his other amendment to the Minimum Wage Act, which -- as the Post, the Rocky Mountain News, and the Denver Business Journal all reported -- aims to curb identification theft by allowing "the sharing of social security data among government agencies for immigration enforcement purposes." Allard's ID-theft amendment has not yet come to a vote.
While the Post on January 28 reported Allard's vote in favor of abolishing the federal minimum wage in an item on page 10A titled "Colorado votes in Congress" (accessed through the Post's electronic edition), it did not report that he was the amendment's sponsor and had promoted it in a Senate floor statement. The Post item reported:
State wage sovereignty
For: 28/Against: 69
Senators rejected a bid to abolish the federal minimum wage and allow each state to set its own base wage. States now must abide by the federally set floor but can require a higher minimum wage. A yes vote was to abolish the federal minimum wage. (HR 2) Wayne Allard (R) Yes Ken Salazar (D) No
On January 30, the Chieftain included Allard's defense of his minimum wage amendment in an article about another Allard news release, which expressed the senator's anger over the vandalism that took place during a recent anti-war rally on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. According to the article, Allard "was 'dismayed' that federal Capitol police were instructed to allow protesters to reach the steps and do vandalism there during the large antiwar rally" and has asked for a meeting with U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse. The Chieftain's article, by Peter Roper, generally echoed a January 29 press release posted on Allard's website.
Later in the same article, the Chieftain reported Allard's comments regarding his attempt to eliminate the federal minimum wage:
On other issues, Allard defended his amendment last week to set aside the federal minimum wage and permit each state to determine its own minimum wage. The Senate is debating legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage but also would include a package of tax cuts for small businesses.
Allard's amendment was defeated on a vote of 69-28.
"My amendment would have given each state's minimum wage primacy because each state's economy is different," he said, noting that Colorado voters had approved a minimum wage increase in November. "In the light of the negative effects that raising the minimum wage would have on businesses, I thought we should allow each state to determine its own minimum wage."
The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction also published a January 30 article, by Gary Harmon, about Allard's reaction to the Capitol vandalism. The article noted Allard's proposed ID-theft amendment but omitted any mention of his concurrently introduced attempt to eliminate the federal minimum wage.
In response to Allard's January 29 press release, the News published an online article about Allard's reaction to the vandalism, but as of that date had yet to provide any coverage of his minimum wage amendment.