When it comes to politics, there is typically very little going on at this time of the year here in Minnesota. Indeed, the legislature is not in session, and the highlight of the weeks following July 1, the day that most new state laws take effect, is probably the speeches given at the State Fair.
This summer will prove to be something of an exception, however, as this coming weekend will see the state's minimum wage undergo a historic increase, the second of three scheduled hikes, and one that will propel the state into the top tier for minimum wage both in the Midwest and throughout the nation.
On Saturday, the state's minimum wage will officially increase to $9 per hour, a move that experts say will affect close to 288,000 people and enable those among them who work full-time the ability to earn an additional $2,000-plus per year.
When this happens, Minnesota will officially have the highest minimum wage of in the upper Midwest, surpassing Michigan's $8.15 per hour, Illinois' $8.25 per hour and South Dakota's $8.50.
Perhaps even more impressive, Minnesota will have the highest minimum wage of any state between the two coasts, trailing only seven other states, including Oregon at $9.25 per hour and Washington at $9.47 per hour.
It's possible that the Land of 10,000 Lakes will climb even higher come August 2016, when the minimum wage is scheduled to undergo its third and final increase to $9.50 (with adjustments for inflation thereafter).
To show just how far the minimum wage has risen, consider that it was only a few years ago that the majority of employers in Minnesota paid their workers the same minimum wage as that currently found in neighboring Wisconsin, where workers earn $7.25 per hour.
It remains to be seen what consequences, if any, our state's aggressive action on the minimum wage will have. Stay tuned for developments.
If you have questions about the state's wage and hour laws, or believe that you are not receiving the pay to which you are entitled, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.