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updated: 3/21/2014 7:16 AM

Minimum wage bill passes Illinois Senate committee

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- A plan to raise Illinois' minimum wage is heading to the Senate floor.

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford's legislation to increase the wage from $8.25 to $10.65 per hour passed a Senate committee by a 10-5 vote on Thursday afternoon.

The increase would be phased in over a three-year period to give employers time to adjust.

Lightford is a Maywood Democrat. She says the current minimum wage isn't enough.

The issue is a key component of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election campaign.

Business groups oppose the plan. The Illinois Retail Merchants' Association says the legislation would "hinder local retailers and their employees."

The group says raising the minimum wage would force employers to cut jobs, especially affecting those between the ages of 16 and 24.

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