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The Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee approved the amendment on a split vote Friday and sent it to the Rules Committee, which Bakk chairs. He cited a recent analysis by the magazine State Legislatures that found that in 10 of the 11 U.S. states where the minimum wage is indexed to inflation, it became law by voter approval.
With House and Senate negotiators stalled over their differences, Bakk said he and Thissen would likely have to get personally involved in talks next week. In addition to the dispute over indexing, negotiators also haven’t settled questions about what size of business the minimum wage would apply to, or a possible exemption for agricultural workers.
“I’d like to make a deal,” Bakk said.
Bakk himself has been a critic of what he’s called excessive constitutional amendments in recent years, and has sponsored a separate amendment that would make it harder for lawmakers to forward amendments to the ballot. But he said the indexing issue meets his own test for being important enough to put to voters.
Bakk said that if the question of indexing is on the November ballot, he would personally vote in favor.
“I do think it would provide some protection for those low-wage workers,” Bakk said.
Patrick Condon • 651-925-5049