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Minimum Wage Bill Advances In Fla. Senate

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Legislative Session Coverage

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) — A bill that would change the way the state calculates its minimum wage is ready go to the full Senate, after approval Tuesday by the Budget Committee.

The panel voted 14-6 along party lines to support SB 1610, which critics contend violates a 2004 constitutional amendment that set a state minimum wage.

The amendment requires recalculation each year based on the inflation rate. This year, the state matches the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The bill deals with calculation of the wage after a period of deflation, as occurred in 2009.

Advocates for the poor have filed a lawsuit against the state Agency for Workforce Innovation, arguing that the agency should not have taken into account deflation in calculating the wage.

SB 1610 would support AWI’s approach but Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said that would cost some minimum-wage workers about $2.40 a week.

“For $2.40 a week, this is just something that is unconscionable at this time, when people are lined up more than ever seeking public assistance,” Joyner said.

Bill sponsor Nancy Detert, R-Venice, defended it. She said it ensures that Florida will use the federal minimum wage if that is higher, and that the wage will not go down.

“I think that is about as fair as you can get in today’s world,” Detert said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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