St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A bill boosting Minnesota's minimum wage was approved by the Senate Wednesday in a 39 to 28 party-line vote.
The measure would give low wage earners $0.50 more an hour than the current federal rate.
The next stop is Conference Committee to work out the differences with the House version of the bill, one of which is how much more the minimum wage would increase.
The bill approved on the House Floor on Friday would increase Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2015, from the current state wage of $6.15 an hour.
The Senate version begins at $7.25 an hour and would top off at $7.75 by 2015.
A proposed amendment to the bill would protect tipped workers if, for example, a restaurant patron puts a tip on their credit card.
Credit card processing fees, in many cases, are deducted from the wait staff's tips.
"Restaurants, which we're talking about, have a tougher time of finding ways to cover these costs and cover that margin increase. The only way they can do that is to start raising costs on menus," said Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls).
"A person that is serving us, a waiter or waitress, has come and done a good job, we decide to give them not the regular tip of 10 or 15 percent, but 25 percent because they did a fantastic job, I think they should get every dollar that we give them," said Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis).
The Senate did not adopt the amendment.
Those for the bill said while minimum wage has not increased, the cost of living has.
The opposition said it will hurt small businesses.