AUSTIN, Texas - A new bill introduced in the Texas House is aimed at increasing the minimum wage.
Democrat Rep. Senfronia Thompson of District 14 proposed House Bill 937 to increase Texas' minimum wage from the $7.25 federal rate to $10.10 an hour by 2021.
For the first time in his life, Edward Martinez said he is unemployed.
"The $3 would add up in the long run," said Martinez. "It would actually make a difference in peoples' lives."
Martinez, 53, said he is in school and doing an electric apprenticeship. He said earning minimum wage just doesn't cut it for him anymore.
"Maybe if you were right out of high school and you have no means of supporting anybody but yourself," said Martinez."If you're trying to support a family on $7.25 that's undoable."
The legislation would gradually increase the pay rate to no less than $8.25 an hour from 2018 to 2019.
The wage would increase to $9.25 an hour from 2020 to 2021 until it reaches $10.10.
UTEP Economics Professor Tom Fullerton said the work force making minimum wage plays in small.
"About 2.3 percent of the total wage and salary workforce," said Fullerton. We're talking about very limited swatch of the overall labor market."
Fullerton said if HB 937 passes minimum wage earners would be the most affected.
"Inexperienced young workers, or for workers who don't have much training -- a lot of the workers who haven't completed high school for example -- and for workers that speak English as a second language," said Fullerton. "Employers don't pay wages so that their workers can attain a certain standard of living."
If passed, House Bill 937 would go into effect January 1, 2018.