- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A state legislative committee on Wednesday approved a plan to raise California’s minimum wage again and tie future increases to inflation.

The Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment voted 5-2 to advance the proposal by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

Leno’s SB3 would raise California’s minimum wage to $11 in 2016 and $13 in 2017, then tie the minimum wage to inflation starting in 2019. He says his bill is needed to keep up with the cost of living and help low-wage workers make ends meet. It already passed the Senate.

California already has one of the nation’s highest minimum wage rates. It is $9 an hour and will rise to $10 an hour in 2016.

The California Chamber of Commerce has labeled Leno’s bill a “job killer,” saying it would lead companies to slow hiring.

After about two hours of testimony on the bill, there was a brief stir in the committee when its chairman, Democratic Assemblyman Roger Hernandez of West Covina, abruptly moved for a vote before every committee member could finish speaking.

Assemblyman Matthew Harper, R-Huntington Beach, complained that debate was being cut off. Hernandez said Harper was speaking out of order and leaned over and shut off his microphone before demanding legislative security remove it.

SB3 heads to the appropriations committee before it can be considered by the full Assembly.

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