There’s more indication today that the Minnesota legislative process isn’t quite running on all cylinders.
Today, Sen. Ann Rest, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and several House DFLers proposed that voters do the job they elected lawmakers to do: Decide on the record whether the state’s minimum wage should be raised and, if so, how?
The bill filed today puts that decision to the voters in the form of yet another constitutional amendment after a breakdown of the legislative process between House and Senate DFL.
The question that would be put to voters reads:
“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to establish a minimum wage at a rate of at least $10 per hour that is increased each year by the rate of inflation?”
It’s a good question, and one that voters expected lawmakers to answer this session.
Her proposal would raise the minimum wage in future years “by the ratio of the annual implicit price deflator for government consumption expenditures and gross investment for state and local governments as prepared by the United States Department of Commerce for the most recently available year, to the 2013 implicit price deflator for government consumption expenditures and gross investment for state and local governments as prepared by the United States Department of Commerce.”
The Senate has proposed a $9.50 minimum wage by 2016, but supporters don’t have enough votes to include the automatic increase in subsequent years. The House supporters are proposing a $9.50 minimum wage for businesses with gross sales of more than $500,000 a year, and a lower minimum wage for smaller businesses, with the wage increasing based on inflation.
Historically, the two sides would work a deal, but the bill died at this point last year and today’s bill filing suggests it could die this year too without punting the issue to the voters.
It’s an easy thing to do since putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot requires only a majority vote of both houses. This year, however, lawmakers are considering a bill that would raise the bar to a 60-percent majority in each body to put a question to voters.