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Bill to lower minimum wage for some tipped employees heads to House Floor

A fiscal note suggesting a cost to the state did not derail a bill to change the law on minimum wages for tipped employees Monday.

HF1027, sponsored by Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), would create a new minimum-wage category of $8 an hour for waiters and other employees whose combined wages and tips amount to $12 an hour or more in within a pay period.

That $8 hourly rate is a dollar less than the new $9 an hour minimum wage that goes into effect Aug. 1, 2015, under a law enacted last year that stipulates a series of wage increases.

The Department of Labor and Industry said enforcing the provision would require a full-time staff position in the first year and half-time position for the next three years, along with $5,000 for outreach and education about the change. Total cost: $168,000 in fiscal years 2016-17 and $126,000 in fiscal years 2018-19.

On a 14-9 roll-call vote, the committee sent the bill to the House Floor. 

Garofalo invited bill opponents to bring him their concerns so the bill could gain more DFL support. He specifically indicated interest in two areas: waiters being forced to cover customers’ credit card fees, an issue brought up by Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center), and the need for inflationary increases in wage rates set in the bill, as raised by Rep. Lyndon Carson Sr. (DFL-Crystal).

The bill has no Senate companion. 

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