After battling all through last year over the issue, democrat NJ Governor Phil Murphy agreed with the democratic-controlled legislature on a bill that will lead to a state minimum wage of $15 per hour as soon as 2024. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who has not always seen eye to eye with Murphy, finally brokered the deal and the legislation advanced this week out of the Assembly Labor Committee. It next goes before the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday and ultimately through both democratic controlled branches. Senate President Steve Sweeney also agreed to the final proposal, so it is only a matter of time before the bill becomes law. Proponents hope to have it done in time to mandate increasing the current $8.85/hour to $10 by July 1, 2019, $11 next January and $1/year thereafter up to $15 in 2024. There has been additional minimum wage movement in other states around the nation as well. The senate labor committee in Virginia surprised most observers when it approved legislation raising the state minimum (currently $7.75) to $15/hour by 2021. The bill now advances to the republican-controlled senate for a floor vote. Republicans have a slim majority in the upper chamber, so committee approval may have been a bit Machiavellian, but we shall see. Florida attorney John Morgan, who put medical marijuana before voters, is now planning to present an initiative to mandate a $15/hour minimum wage in the Sunshine State. Morgan announced his plan to put the question on the November 2020 ballot at an Orlando press conference Tuesday. And, calculating and paying minimum wages in Massachusetts changed at the New Year in the wake of legislation passed last year. Prior to the change taking place January 1, employers were allowed to pay a tipped employee less than the minimum by claiming a “tip credit” and calculating a tipped employee’s total earnings (wage plus tips) at the end of each pay period. After January 1 however, that calculation must be done at the end of each shift and the employer must ensure the service employee earned the $12 minimum. Business interests have asked the legislature to delay components of the law, a request which has not been well received by many of the law’s proponents.