Coghill: Reluctance to move on minimum wage bill

JUNEAU (AP) — Senate Majority Leader John Coghill says there’s probably reluctance among senators to move forward on a bill to raise Alaska’s minimum wage.

Coghill chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and last month held a hearing on two of the initiatives qualified for this year’s ballot, including a proposed minimum wage hike.

He told reporters initiative supporters expressed clearly their desire to allow voters to decide the issue. He said that has given the Senate some pause in moving forward with a bill.

A House committee last week introduced a minimum wage bill that tracks closely with the initiative.

The Legislature can pre-empt a ballot initiative by passing substantially similar legislation. That happened in 2002, and a year later, lawmakers gutted the law. Supporters of the initiative fear that could happen again.

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