Last year, bills raising the minimum wage from $6.15 passed the House and Senate. But the House wanted to raise the floor much higher than the Senate ($9.50 to $7.75, respectively), and DFL leaders never came to an agreement.
So as you'd imagine, getting a minimum wage increase done is a top DFL priority this session.
Reached for comment today, the author of the House bill, Rep. Ryan Winkler, said he's "guardedly confident we can pass a good minimum wage."
Winkler said the governor supports the more significant increase favored by the House.
"The governor and the House are on board and a majority of DFL senators are on board, but not all," Winkler said. "We're focusing on getting senators to try and support the House position, or something close to it."
Winkler characterized the increase passed by the Senate last session as "essentially doing nothing" since the current federal rate is $7.25. (President Obama favors increasing it to $10.10.)
"I think it's a top priority," Winkler said. "It's one of the most important issues we'll deal with [this session], and our hope is to get a good bill passed within the first two weeks."