After Long Silence, House Moving On Minimum Wage

Mar 19, 2015

For the first time in years, legislation to raise the minimum wage is advancing in the Illinois House.

Raising the wage has been a hot topic for years. Illinois voters overwhelmingly supported the idea at last November's election. The Senate voted for an increase last month. And even Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he can get behind it — if it comes after a long list of pro-business legislation.

But raising the wage hadn’t gotten any traction in the Illinois House — until now.

“It was unexpected," says Rep. Art Turner, a Democrat from Chicago. “Things move kind of fast around here sometimes. But … I’ve been working behind the scenes and working with members around this language for this bill for a long time."

Illinois’ current minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. Turner's proposal would make it $9 this summer and $10 the next. It passed a committee on a party-line vote, and is now before the full House.

The Senate proposal would eventually raise the wage to $11 an hour in 2019.