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Democratic Rep. Mark Cohen planning additional minimum-wage bills

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A week after Harrisburg Democratic Rep. Patty Kim introduced a bill to raise the state's minimum wage, Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Philadelphia, said he is planning two new bills.

The first would repeal the ban on local governments setting their own minimum-wage standards. The second would establish a timeframe for a state increase to $11.50 per hour from the current $7.25.

“A growing number of local governments throughout the United States are driving the minimum wage debate forward by issuing their own requirements. I believe Pennsylvania cities, counties, boroughs and townships should have the same flexibility as do their counterparts in other states,” said Cohen, Democratic chairman of the House State Government Committee.

Kim’s bill, House Bill 1896, would raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania to $9 per hour, beginning 60 days after enactment of the bill. Tipped workers making $2.13 would be increased to $4.50.

It would then go to $10.10 per hour a year later. Tipped workers would be increased to $5.05.

Cohen is basing his plan on other proposals around the country. A pair of counties in Maryland recently enacted $11.50 per hour, while that same rate has received preliminary approval in the District of Columbia City Council and is likely to be approved by that body.

Further, the Massachusetts Senate has passed an $11 minimum wage, and there will be a referendum on the ballot in California in 2014 to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour, Cohen said.

His plan would be to raise it to $9 per hour 60 days after enactment of the legislation, $10.10 a year later and $11.50 the following year.

After the final statutory increase, there would be a cost-of-living increase on Jan. 1 of each year, he said.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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