Amended Minimum Wage Bill Heads to State Senate

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A bill that would have cut minimum wages for workers who rely on tips has won the endorsement of a Senate panel, after its sponsor amended the bill to put in today's wage for servers and others.

However, the bill endorsed yesterday permanently fixes the minimum rate at $2.63 an hour, no longer pinning it to 42 percent of the state's minimum wage. That means legislators would have to file bills to specifically change the amount if the wage changes in the future.

The tip allowance was included in a measure enacted during a special session last year that raised the state minimum wage by $1.10 an hour to $6.25. The new minimum wage took effect in October.

The minimum wage hike was enacted after legislative leaders reached a compromise with those campaigning for a constitutional amendment to increase the wage. The proposed amendment would have included automatic adjustments to the minimum wage for inflation. The Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor advanced the measure yesterday to the full Senate.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)