Bill to hike Washington minimum wage stalls in Olympia

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Republican state senator says he won't schedule a vote for a measure that would phase in a new $12 hourly state minimum wage.

Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, said Tuesday the Commerce and Labor Committee he chairs will not vote on House Bill 1355. The measure passed the Democratic-controlled House on a party-line vote. A Republican-led coalition controls the Senate.

Baumgartner said the proposed wage hike would hurt small businesses and that he wouldn't "put people in eastern Washington out of work to placate the egos of extreme Seattle liberals."

Washington's current hourly minimum wage is $9.47, the highest in the nation.

On Wednesday, Seattle's new $15 hourly minimum wage law began taking effect. Workers at large businesses and national chains will see the minimum wage increase to $11 an hour this week, part of a gradual increase to $15.