New Jersey minimum-wage bill moves forward

Posted: November 14, 2012

After a months-long stalemate over ways to raise the state's minimum wage, Senate Democrats have agreed to put forward an Assembly-approved bill that would boost the wage to $8.50 from $7.25 and include annual cost-of-living increases.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) held back on the Assembly bill, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D., Essex), after Gov. Christie indicated that he did not support indexing the minimum wage to changes in cost of living.

Sweeney said he did not want to raise the wage without including a provision that would regularly raise the wage to keep up with inflation. He called for a constitutional amendment that would let the Democratic-controlled Legislature circumvent the Republican governor and put the question before voters in November 2013.

Sweeney said he is not backing off his plan, but he agreed to give Christie an opportunity to sign the Assembly bill before moving forward with a constitutional amendment. The Assembly passed Oliver's bill in May.

"If the governor doesn't sign the speaker's bill . . . we're moving ahead with my constitutional amendment," he said Monday. "I think we both want the same thing."

The Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to take up the minimum-wage bill on Monday. The Senate's next voting session is Nov. 29.


Joelle Farrell can be reached at 856-779-3237 or jfarrell@phillynews.com or on Twitter at @joellefarrell.

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