Mass. minimum wage bill hits delay

BOSTON — Efforts to raise Massachusetts’ minimum wage have hit a snag.

On Thursday, a House committee had been expected to formally unveil a bill on that would increase the hourly wage from $8 to $10.50 over three years, while also overhauling the state’s unemployment insurance system.

Instead, the House chairman of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development abruptly opened and shut down the committee’s executive session without unveiling any legislation.

Rep. Tom Conroy faulted the Senate for the delay.

“Unfortunately, the Senate has not acquiesced to the House’s request for the extension of these two bills precluding us from addressing them here today,” Conroy said.

He said the bills “are in a state of processing themselves” and left the hearing room without taking questions.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo previewed the anticipated House plan in a recent speech to business leaders last week. DeLeo told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that the House version would increase the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour over three years but would not be automatically adjusted for inflation.

The Senate has passed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour over three years and automatically index future increases to the rate of inflation.

The Senate has passed a separate bill overhauling the unemployment insurance system. DeLeo hopes to approve a single bill combining the two issues.

Another member of the committee, Sen. Robert Hedlund, a Weymouth Republican, blamed the delay on what he called political gamesmanship.

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