Efforts to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage appear to be gaining momentum.  In early January, Minnesota Senator Chris Eaton introduced a bill that would raise the minimum wage in Minnesota to $7.50 per hour and require annual increases to match inflation.  See S.F. No. 3.  Then, in his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $9.00 and indexing it to inflation.
Now, Minnesota Senator David Tomassoni and Representative Melissa Hortman have introduced legislation that would raise Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 per hour and index it to inflation.  See H.F. No. 430.  The bill would first raise the minimum wage for large employers to $8.25 per hour in September of 2013 and then raise it again to $9.50 per hour in July of 2014.  Beginning in 2015, the minimum wage would increase on an annual basis to keep pace with inflation.
The Star Tribune reports that the latest minimum wage legislation is supported by the House Majority Leader, Erin Murphy, as well as a number of DFL committee chairs.  The Star Tribune also reports that the Minnesota Speaker of the House, Paul Thissen, has said that a minimum wage hike in Minnesota has “a much better chance” of passing this legislative session than some of the other bills that have been introduced.
Takeaway:  With broader support and multiple bills introduced, it is looking more likely that the Minnesota legislature may raise the state minimum wage this year.  Employers with minimum wage employees should pay close attention to the pending legislation.