Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, right, chats in January with Sen. Kevin De León, D-Los Angeles, who’s due to be Senate leader. Leno backs a minimum wage tied to inflation.

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  • Election watch

    Assemblyman Mike Morrell won an easy election to the state Senate on Tuesday, filling the unexpired term of former state Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, who became a senior vice president for the California Hospital Association.

    Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, received 62.6 percent of the vote in a five-way special primary election, easily avoiding a June 3 runoff, according to semi-official results. His closest rival, Democrat Ronald J. O’Donnell of Highland, received 15.3 percent of the vote.

    – Jim Miller

The Buzz: California minimum wage hike clears first Senate hurdle

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2014 - 11:11 pm

Senate panel passes

minimum wage bill

Legislation that would sharply increase California’s minimum wage and index it to inflation cleared its first legislative hurdle.

It’s doubtful whether Gov. Jerry Brown would sign another minimum wage boost a year after he and the Legislature enacted an increase.

The 2013 legislation raises the minimum wage, now $8 per hour, to $9 on July 1, then to $10 in 2016.

The new legislation, Senate Bill 935, carried by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is backed by labor unions and advocates for the poor. It would raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2015, and then $12 in 2016 and $13 in 2017. Beginning in 2018, the wage would be automatically indexed to inflation each year.

Leno told the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, which approved the bill Wednesday, that another boost is needed to stimulate the economy and combat poverty and middle-class decline. Citing Wal-Mart and other employers, Leno said, “We, the taxpayers, are subsidizing the wealthiest people in this country.”

Employer groups, particularly those representing restaurants and farmers, lined up against the Leno measure.

– Dan Walters

Worth repeating

“Tony Beard deserves a raise.”

ASSEMBLYMAN JEFF GORELL, R-Camarillo, on the Senate’s chief sergeant-at-arms, who has had to handle two FBI raids at the Capitol in the last year.

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