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Minimum wage hike likely dead for the legislative session

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats Updated: May 16, 2013 - 12:43 PM

Low wage workers hoping for a boost in the minimum wage will likely be out of luck this session.

"It seems it's unlikely we are going to get a bill there," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook.

The Minnesota House wants to hike the state's minimum wage from $6.15 an hour, one of the country's lowest, to $9.50 an hour, which would be one of the country's highest. The Senate wants to raise the minimum to $7.75 an hour.

After a meeting with Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday morning, the DFL leaders emerged saying they simply cannot bridge their differences.

"We passed a very strong bill that we think serves working Minnesotans very well and we think the minimum wage should be near our number and for whatever reason the Senate doesn't think it can get there," said House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.

Their lack of movement on the issue dashes what had been a priority for many DFL lawmakers and their allies. Members of Working America, a coalition of union and other groups, have sent more than 1,500 emails, 2,000 letters and 13,000 face-to-face conversations to support a higher minimum wage.

Gov. Mark Dayton deputy chief of staff Bob Hume said the governor is still hopes the House and Senate can agree on the issue. Dayton supports raising the minimum wage to between $9 and $9.50 an hour.

"The votes just are not there in the Senate to go that high. The good news there is there's a conference committee there that's open," Bakk said.

Thissen said the lack of movement is "totally unfortunate."

"It would be good for the people of Minnesota but..if we're going to do it we're going to make sure we are going to have a strong minimum wage and so that's where we are," Thissen said.

 

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