ST. PAUL (AP) - Competing minimum wage bills are splitting Minnesota Democrats on an issue they consider a priority this legislative session.
The Minnesota Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to bring the wage floor up to $7.75 per hour by August 2015.
That's a step up from $6.15 now, a rate that is below the federal standard. It passed on a 39-28 party-line vote.
Last week, the House approved a bill to raise the minimum wage in three steps until it hits $9.50 an hour in 2015.
Future increases would be automatic and based on inflation.
Negotiators from the two chambers have until May 20 to find common ground.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton says he would support a minimum wage bill that sets the rate between $9 and $9.50 per hour.