Minimum Wage

The Colorado Senate gave a tentative aye Tuesday to a bill to let local governments in high-cost parts of the state raise the minimum wage to attract workers.

But by tacking on amendments, the Senate ensured that House Bill 1210 would have to return to the lower chamber for at least one more vote.

That matters because time is running short for lots of major legislation that must pass before Friday's midnight adjournment.

The Senate also has to hold a recorded roll-call vote on the bill.

Two amendments were added by the bill's sponsor, Sen. Dominick Moreno. One changed minimum wages to minimum wage, to make it clear all adults would earn the same at that required rate.

The other puts the state on the hook to help cover some of the extra costs for minimum-wage nursing home workers paid by Medicaid, if the local rate went up.

The Republicans and the business community say local-option minimum wage needs more work. They contend it will cost jobs for workers who don't have much money to begin with.

"Fundamentally, the minimum wage doesn't work," said Sen. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument. "They're going to punish the people they're trying to support and encourage. It's virtue signaling at its worst. and this is not an economic solution."

Moreno acknowledged that many in the business community opposed the bills and others were "aggressively neutral, looking at you, taverns and restaurants." 

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