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Democrats want public hearing for proposed minimum wage increase

Democrats in the state Senate want a public hearing for a bill that would increase Wisconsin's minimum wage.

Democrats are hoping a news conference held Tuesday will not only call attention to the bill, but put pressure on majority Republicans to hold a hearing. The legislation was introduced almost a year ago, but hasn't moved forward in committee.

Sen. Robert Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie), who sponsored the bill, says poverty is a serious problem in the state and raising the minimum wage is something that they can do to address the problem.

"We're overdue for action here in Wisconsin," says Wirch. "Our minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It means if you work full time all year, you're going to make $15,000 - simply not enough."

The bill would increase the minimum wage to $7.60 an hour. Wirch says it's a modest increase, but called it a small step in the right direction.

Sen. Nikiya Harris (D-Milwaukee), another sponsor, says businesses and the public need to have a say about the bill.

"Holding a public hearing would allow everyone to come to the table and have a conversation of how we can move Wisconsin's economy forward together," says Harris.

Wisconsin's current minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage.