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State senator forces vote on minimum wage bill

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In Pennsylvania, employers are required to pay their hourly workers at least $7.25 per hour, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. It has been set at this amount, which coincides with the federal minimum wage, since July 2009. According to the Philadelphia Tribune, State Senator Christine Tartaglione is now pushing the senate to vote on a bill that would raise the state’s wages to $10.10 per hour.

The senator proposed the bill in 2014 and it has been in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee since early 2015. The Philadelphia Tribune reports that the senator believed the bill was being purposefully ignored, and decided to file a discharge petition in order to force a vote on the matter. Cornell University Law School defines a discharge petition as a petition that removes a proposed bill from a committee and brings it before a governing body without a report. It discharges the committee and its leadership from considering the bill or resolution any further and forces legislators to vote yay or nay on the bill as it is. The senator submitted her discharge petition on November 10, 2015, and senators have 10 legislative days, or days in which the legislature could be in session, in which to consider the bill.

The NCSL also reports that Pennsylvania has the lowest hourly payout out of any of its neighboring states and in the entire Northeast U.S.  Furthermore, neighboring states like New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio have all passed legislation raising their minimum hourly wages this year. This makes a total of 29 states in the U.S. that have higher minimum wages than Pennsylvania.