Illinois lawmakers OK minimum wage ballot measure

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Legislature has approved a plan to ask voters whether the state should increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour.

The legislation now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who supports an increase. The Senate voted 39-17 on Wednesday to put the nonbinding question on the November ballot. The measure comes after Democrats failed to gather enough votes to increase the state's minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65 per hour.

Democratic state Sen. Kimberly Lightford of Maywood sponsored the legislation. She says the referendum gives unsure lawmakers more confidence to support an increase.

Republicans have called the measure an election year gimmick. Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove says the referendum is meaningless because lawmakers have wage increase proposals available.