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Gov. Wolf Puts House On Timetable To Pass Minimum Wage Bill

Matt Rourke
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his budget address for the 2019-20 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

Gov. Tom Wolf is putting the state House of Representatives on a timeline to pass legislation he has long sought to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, saying Friday that the Republican-controlled chamber has until the end of the month.

If the House doesn’t pass the bill, Wolf’s office said the Democrat will let a rulemaking board proceed with a vote on a regulatory measure to extend overtime pay eligibility to tens of thousands of workers.

Wolf’s administration asked the state rule-making board Friday to vote on the proposed regulation at its Jan. 30 meeting.

The Republican-controlled Senate, in a 42-7 vote, last month approved the legislation raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wageto $9.50 an hour in 2022, up from the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

Those provisions are more modest than what Wolf proposed in January and required him to make a number of concessions to win its passage, including relenting on the overtime regulation.

However, the House’s Republican majority has steadfastly opposed raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, and caucus leaders have publicly offered no support for it since a bill passed the Senate on Nov. 20. The bill was sitting in committee Friday without a hearing or vote on it scheduled.

House Labor and Industry Committee Chairman Jim Cox, R-Berks, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment about the bill.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry had brokered a deal to support an increase in the minimum wage in exchange for Wolf agreeing not to expand overtime pay eligibility during his second term.

The chamber has long opposed an increase in the minimum wage, but it viewed Wolf’s regulatory package to expand overtime pay eligibility to tens of thousands of salaried workers as far more expensive for businesses.