House rejects bids to scale back minimum wage increase

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas House has rejected efforts to scale back a minimum wage increase that voters approved last year, voting down proposals to exempt many from the promised pay hikes.

The House Monday rejected by a 42-34 vote a proposal to exempt workers under the age of 19 from future increases promised under the voter-backed measure that gradually raises the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021. Arkansas’ minimum wage increased from $8.50 an hour to $9.25 in January under the measure and will increase to $10 next year.

The House also voted 45-29 to reject a proposal to exempt small businesses and some nonprofits.

The proposals would have kept pay at $9.25 an hour for those exempted.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson last month said he opposed the measures.

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