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Wisconsin Democrats push minimum wage hike

  • Associated Press
  • December 10, 2013 - 5:05 PM

MADISON, Wis. — Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature, including possible gubernatorial candidate Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, called on Republicans Tuesday to hold a public hearing on a bill to increase the minimum wage.

Twenty-six Democrats sent a letter requesting the hearing.

The request for a hearing comes as President Barack Obama and Democrats nationally have been calling for an increase in the minimum wage. Vinehout also seized on the issue, signing the letter and sending out a separate column calling for a minimum wage hike.

The bill calling for the minimum wage increase was introduced in January by Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha. It had 33 co-sponsors, all Democrats. Vinehout did not sign on as a co-sponsor until Dec. 4, more than 10 months later.

"As I travel, I hear many stories from working families who are struggling to make ends meet," she said in her column expressing support for the bill. "Low wage workers fall further and further behind and are more dependent on the state's cash strapped social safety net programs."

The bill would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $7.60 an hour and then have it go up automatically after that based on inflation. It's in the Senate's Judiciary and Labor Committee, chaired by Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman, of West Bend.

Grothman said he doesn't support the bill because he believes it will make it harder for teenagers to secure entry level jobs. Despite his opposition, Grothman said he still might schedule the bill for a hearing.

The Legislature's regular session resumes in January and is scheduled to end in April.

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