The state Senate has approved a bill that would increase the state's minimum wage while also offering business-friendly changes in the state's unemployment insurance.
Thursday's action by the Senate was largely an attempt by Democratic leaders to break a procedural logjam with the House and allow negotiations to begin over an increase in the $8 per hour minimum wage, which has not changed in the past five years.
The Senate bill would raise the wage to $11 per hour over three years and tie future increases to inflation.
A bill passed by the House would bring the hourly wage to $10.50 over three years, but without indexing hikes to inflation.
The Senate had previously approved both the minimum wage and unemployment insurance measures, but as separate bills.