New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) has wisely agreed to post a bill that would increase the state's minimum wage much faster than his proposal to embed the pay hike in the state constitution.
The bill increasing the lowest-paid workers' wages from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour has been ready for Senate action since May, when the Assembly passed it. But Sweeney delayed scheduling it because he was concerned that Gov. Christie would veto it or strip out cost-of-living increases.
Sweeney earlier proposed changing the state constitution to allow for automatic minimum-wage adjustments tied to increases in the consumer price index. But that plan would create a cumbersome and lengthy legislative process to stop automatic pay hikes when the economy is bad. While not abandoning his idea, Sweeney is moving forward with the bill, which may pass in a Senate committee next week.