By now anyone following the debate at the Capitol over raising the minimum wage knows that Majority Leader Bakk has drawn a line in the sand, saying the Senate did not have the votes to pass a wage increase that is indexed to inflation. There are some signs that maybe the caucus is not as firm on this position as Leader Bakk’s words suggested.
I’d been hearing this from several caucus members, and then this afternoon I got word of a DFL Lawyers Committee luncheon featuring a panel about the legislative session that included Senators Pappas, Bonoff, and Franzen. From the House Representatives Murphy and Winkler were also there. Senator Pappas said she supports $9.50 indexed, while Senator Bonoff I’m told said she supports the $9.50 but does not support indexing. The kicker, however, is what Senator Franzen had to say (I have confirmed this with two independent sources). Franzen said she was “hesitant but open” to indexing.
This is a huge deal. If you read my first post on the subject, you saw I spent a bit of time on the politics faced by suburban Democrats. Senator Franzen is one of a handful of Senators known to be on the fence on the issue of indexing. Hers is the name t probably most discussed in the coalition working to pass the wage increase. Simply put, without her being a Strong No on indexing, there is no way the door is not still open to passing a minimum wage bill that does not see low-wage workers’ buying power erode year after year. We can do this.
Keep up the work, folks. Check the whip count at bluestemprairie.com. If your state senator is not yet listed, keep asking until you get an answer.