Both the House and Senate have been deadlocked since the end of the last year's legislative session on how high to raise the minimum wage. The House passed a bill at $9.50 an hour, the Senate at $7.75. In the current session, conference committee negotiators have agreed on the $9.50 target, but cannot agree on whether it should be indexed to inflation.
Rep. Winkler offered a series of compromises including a lower threshold for defining large and small employers. Winkler's offer on behalf of the House would define a large employer as one that has gross sales above $500,000. The current threshold is $625,000.
Rep. Winkler has also offered a compromise on how to index the minimum wage to inflation. Winker wants to use a different economic formula that measures inflation at a lower rate than the Consumer Price Index.
Senators have also been concerned about the effect of raising the minimum wage on agricultural jobs in a fragile farm economy. Part of Winkler's compromise would take away the requirement of overtime pay for agricultural jobs.
Senate conferees will now take Rep. Winkler's offer to the DFL Caucus. Winkler says it's likely they could have another conference committee meeting at the end of the week.