Panel Split On Bill To Slow Minimum Wage Increase

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A proposal to slow the rise of Maine's minimum wage and create a lower wage for younger workers has split a legislative committee along partisan lines.

The Portland Press Herald reports that all seven Democrats on the Labor, Research, Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted against the bill Thursday. The committee's six Republicans voted in favor of it. The divided report means Republicans can still try to advance the bill in the full Legislature.

In 2016, Maine voters approved raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2020.

Republican Rep. Joel Stetkis' bill would keep the current $10 minimum in place until 2020. It would then rise by 50 cents a year until reaching $12.

Teenagers could be paid less than the minimum wage for the first 200 hours of employment.