Published: February 19 2014 | 11:20 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:52 am in

Legislation that would increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 by January 1, 2016 passed 7-4 on a party-line vote through the Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee Wednesday morning and is now on its way to the Senate floor for possible debate. Republicans have largely remained opposed to the bill, stating lawmakers should focus on improving education and training to help Iowans obtain better jobs, while Democrats have made their support of the issue a significant focus throughout the session.

Senate File 3194 would incrementally increase the minimum wage starting with $8.00 July 1, $8.70 January 1, 2015, $9.40 July 1, 2015 and $10.10 at the start of 2016.

Sen. Dick Dearden, D-Des Moines, said raising the minimum wage is vital for citizens and their families. Dearden said the raise would have “helped my lifestyle tremendously” when he worked a minimum wage job more than two decades ago.

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