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Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie approves bill raising minimum hourly wage to $10.10 by 2018

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By Malia Mattoch McManus

HONOLULU (Reuters) – Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie on Friday approved a gradual hike in the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as Democrats seek to make raising pay for hourly workers an issue ahead of this year’s midterm congressional elections.

The move makes Hawaii the latest in a string of Democratic-dominated states including California and Maryland to pass or enact legislation raising the minimum wage to at or above the $10 mark, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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The new law, approved overwhelmingly by Hawaii lawmakers in April, will raise Hawaii’s base wage in stages to reach $10.10 by January 2018 from a current level of $7.25, which is also the federal minimum.

“In today’s world that minimum wage is not a survival wage, certainly not in Hawaii,” Abercrombie said, referencing Hawaii’s high cost of living and rising housing prices.

Democrats headed by President Barack Obama have seized on the issue of raising the base wage of $7.25 as a way of stirring voter enthusiasm heading into mid-term elections in November.

Obama pushed Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 but has failed to win the backing of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

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In Hawaii, as at the national level, proposed increases have drawn strong opposition from some business owners, lobby groups, and economists, who say it will raise costs and eliminate jobs.

Opponents argued restaurants in particular would have to absorb rising costs in Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy, although they agreed that a slower phase-in would help businesses prepare.

Much of the Hawaii wage debate centered on tips. Under the measure, employers of tipped workers making less than $17.10 per hour including tips would have to pay $10.10 per hour. For workers making more than $17.10 per hour, employers can deduct a $.75 tip credit from the hourly wage.

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Under the $7.25 hourly rate, the tip credit is currently $.25 per hour for those workers making at least $7.75 an hour.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Ken Wills)

[Image: ‘Human hands exchanging money,” via Shutterstock]

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Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

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"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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