(NECN) - The chair of the Massachusetts House's Labor Committee is defending his charge that "petty politics" is blocking a bill that would have gradually raised the minimum wage to $10.50 in the Bay State.
Last week, Rep. Thomas Conroy (D-Wayland) called out his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate the day the House was supposed to report out a bill that would be enacted this session, but things fell apart.
Conroy was in a meeting Thursday where they were going to release the House version of the minimum wage bill, and expected to move it out of committee with a favorable vote to get it out to the floor where it would then be debated and voted upon; however, it was blocked by the Massachusetts Senate not following what has been traditionally a common maneuver of letting bills that have passed what Conroy calls a "somewhat artificial" deadline to continue to be considered.
The Wayland Democrat says it was a "technicality" to not extend bill's life, and was told about it by Senate Chair Dan Wolfe and the Senate President Therese Murray's chief of staff.
Conroy told Broadside's Jim Braude he was surprised by the news.
"This is something we want to get enacted by July 1 so that we can give a raise to working families," he said.
Conroy says he doesn't understand what agenda his Senate colleagues would have for halting the bill's progress.
"This does not reflect well on the legislature. I'm in here to enhance the public's trust in government, that's why I ran for office, that's why I'm serving. This does not convey a sense of trust that we know what we're doing and we're putting politics in front of working families and that's a shame," he said.
Massachusetts residents need to be alerted to this, Conroy says.
"The more delay that goes on here, the worse it is for people who deserve a fair working wage," he said.