The measure to bump the hourly wage to $9.50, one of dozens of
wage proposals debated by lawmakers around the country this year,
passed the Democrat-controlled House by a vote of 71-60. The
Democrat-run Senate approved the measure on Wednesday.
It now goes to Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, who supports the
The bill raises the Minnesota's minimum wage for larger employers
over three years starting in August and links increases to an
inflation indicator starting in 2018.
The bill drew praise from President Barack Obama, who has urged
Congress to raise the federal minimum wage.
"With this important step, Minnesota joins a growing coalition of
states, cities, counties and businesses that have taken action to do
the right thing for their workers and their citizens," Obama said in
Proposals to raise the minimum wage have been considered in nearly
three dozen states in 2014, according to the National Conference of
State Legislatures. Increases have been approved in Connecticut,
Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia.
"This is about providing spending power to people who need it," said
Representative Jason Metsa, a Democrat from northern Minnesota.
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The bill drew sharp criticism from Republican lawmakers who
questioned its impact on smaller businesses, entry-level jobs and
"You are going to drive jobs out of the state of Minnesota," said
Representative Kurt Daudt, the Republican minority leader in the
Minnesota's current minimum wage, $6.15 per hour, is among the
lowest in the nation, far below the federal minimum wage of $7.25,
which is also the minimum in its neighboring states Wisconsin, Iowa,
South Dakota and North Dakota.
Democrats said the legislation would raise the wages of about
350,000 state residents and most would return the money to the state
economy by spending it on groceries and other needs.
(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton;
editing by Barbara
Goldberg and Gunna Dickson)
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