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In an about face, DFL leader sounding more confident about minimum wage hike

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats Updated: May 18, 2013 - 12:44 AM

Updated

In an abrupt turnaround, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said Friday that leaders may be able to agree yet on a minimum wage hike.

"There's some middle ground between where the Senate is and the House is,"  Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. He had said on TPT's Almanac program that there was a "very good chance" they could find that compromise.

On Thursday, Bakk said it was unlikely the House and Senate could bridge their differences on the minimum wage.

The House wants to raise it from $6.15 an hour, which is below the federal minimum, to $9.50 an hour. The Senate wants to raise it to $7.75 an hour and Bakk has said the Senate lacks the votes to raise it much beyond that.

On Friday evening, House Speaker Paul Thissen said the House may be able to move toward the middle.

"There probably is room to move on that on our end, too," he said.

But, he sounded less confident than Bakk that the move would come before Monday, the day this year's legislative session is to end.

"I couldn't tell you whether we are going to reach agreement on minimum wage or not," said Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.

The DFL has been under pressure from minimum wage supporters, including the unions which are key DFL backers, to significantly hike the wage. Those pressures only increased when Bakk and Thissen emerged from a meeting with Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday and said that a hike may not be possible this year.

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