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Utah lawmaker brings back bid to boost minimum wage

SALT LAKE CITY — A state lawmaker plans to make another run at raising the minimum wage in Utah.

Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Millcreek, is sponsoring a pair of bills that would raise the general minimum wage immediately to $10.25 per hour and gradually raise it to $12 by 2022, as well as increasing the tipped minimum wage to $3.25.

Minimum wage in Utah currently is $7.25, the same as the federal rate, which has not increased since 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hemingway said he's sponsoring HB117 and HB118 "because our minimum wage workers need some help. They don't have the opportunity to have a decent life at $7.25. They're all struggling."

The Democratic lawmaker has introduced similar legislation in past sessions, including last year when he proposed bumping the minimum wage to $10.25 and then gradually boosting it to $15 over four years.

The bill failed to advance to the House floor for debate.

Hemingway's proposals this year call for an incremental increase of the minimum wage to $12 over four years after the initial raise. He says he hopes the change makes this bill more palatable to the Legislature.