Senate bills: Minimum wage raised to $7.50, all-day kindergarten - New York News

Senate bills: Raise minimum wage to $7.50, fund all-day kindergarten

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Legislation introduced in the Minnesota Senate on Thursday include bills to raise the state's minimum wage, funding for all-day kindergarten, the establishment of a state health care exchange and constitutional amendment reform.

MINIMUM WAGE TO $7.50

A bill to raise Minnesota's minimum wage more than $1.35 to $7.50 for most workers was introduced in the Senate on Thursday. The new rate would be 25 cents more than the current federal minimum wage, good for a raise of $10 per week.

If passed, minimum-wage workers would see their checks increase in August -- but the bill also makes future increases automatic as linked with inflation.

Many minimum-wage workers in Minnesota automatically receive the higher federal wage, though workers like babysitters, taxi drivers, nonprofit volunteers and others are exempt.

The last time the minimum wage was raised in Minnesota was in 2005.

ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN

The bill would provide state funding for school districts that offer all-day kindergarten.

Senate DFL leadership estimates the cost for all-day kindergarten would be $170 million for the biennium.

All-day K funding would not take effect until 2014, giving schools time to expand.


CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

DLF Majority Leader Bakk is urging lawmakers to consider requiring a 60-vote majority for constitutional amendments, saying "This restricts the power of the Legislature."

After last year's campaigns on amendments to ban gay marriage and require photo identification at the polls, Bakk says requiring a three-fifths majority would make it nearly impossible to alter the Constitution without bipartisan support.

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