980 15 minimum wage AP
The measure is set to take effect Jan. 1. Opponents say it will hurt business and reduce employment. (AP)

House panel holds hearing on raising minimum wage

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant testified before a Washington state House panel in support of raising the state's minimum wage.

The House Committee on Labor and Workforce Development took public testimony Tuesday on House Bill 2672, which would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour over the next three years. Sawant argued that while every step toward increasing the minimum wage is critical, raising it to $12 will not be enough. She urged lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour this year.

Under the measure, the wage would increase incrementally from $9.32 an hour to $12 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017.

The bill isn't expected to gain traction in the Senate, which is controlled by a predominantly Republican majority.

Washington's minimum wage is currently the highest in the nation. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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