House, Senate approve minimum wage increase, but disagree on how much is too much

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It looks like the new Minnesota minimum wage will fall somewhere between $7.25 and $9.50 an hour.
With both the House and Senate passing a bill to increase Minnesota's minimum wage, it seems like a foregone conclusion that an increase will be signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton. But exactly what that increase will amount to remains an open question.

SEE ALSO: DFL Rep. Jason Metsa seeks to understand poverty by living on minimum wage... for a week

The bill passed yesterday by the Senate in a party-line vote would increase Minnesota's minimum wage to $7.75 by 2015, 50 cents above the current $7.25 an hour federal level. But the House wants to give minimum-wage workers a more generous raise and last week approved a bill that would raise the rate all the way up to $9.50 an hour.

It's now up for a conference committee made up of legislators from both chambers to smooth out differences between the bills before it heads to Dayton's desk for his signature.

The Governor, for his part, said yesterday he'd prefer to sign a more robust minimum wage hike into law.

"Something is better than nothing," Dayton said, according to a Star Tribune report. But if the Senate's version of the bill prevails, "I'd be very disappointed," he added.

The Pioneer Press reports that during yesterday's Senate debate, an amendment that would've exempted tipped workers from a minimum wage increase was withdrawn, meaning Minnesota will probably remain one of only seven states that allows servers and bartenders to earn the full minimum wage and keep their tips too.

According to the PiPress, "About 42,000 of Minnesota's 93,000 minimum wage workers are employed in restaurants or bars, the most of any single industry."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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