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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Unions Rejoice In Small Win For State Minimum Wage

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Unions and other advocates for raising Illinois' minimum wage won a small victory yesterday. For the first time in years, an increase is advancing in the Illinois House.  

Even Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he can get behind it — if it comes after a long list of pro-business legislation.

Democrat Art Turner, from Chicago, got the measure through a committee on a party-line vote.

“I think it was a response, in part, to the pressure form the voters last November, where they took the referendum and overwhelmingly supported the increase in the minimum wage to $10,” Turner said.

But raising the wage hadn’t gotten any traction in the Illinois House — until now.
“It was unexpected,” Turner said. “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."

Many groups are opposed to the idea, including businesses, farmers and park districts. Turner says he’s still lining up support for a vote in the full House.

The proposal would raise the wage from its current $8.25 an hour to $9 this summer, and $10 next year.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.