The burgeoning power of the Latino community in California was illustrated this week by the death of a minimum wage hike proposal in the state Assembly. Despite the fact that the pro-business Latino Caucus is comprised totally of Democrats, one of its members abstained from supporting the bill. Business groups were astonished to see the bill die in an Assembly labor committee, which was seen as dominated by the state’s unions. The tipping point in the death of the $13-per-hour minimum wage bill was the abstention of Salinas Democrat Assemblyman Luis Alejo, who had written the 2013 bill raising the state’s minimum wage to $9 next week and $10 by 2016. He was joined by one other Democrat. Alejo’s bill, which engendered a compromise among the governor, business groups, and organized labor, took three years to pass. Alejo noted that he had given his word on the compromise, and he would not break it to support the new minimum wage bill, Senate Bill 935, authored by San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno. Alejo said the new bill would violate the old one, adding, “When you’re trying to negotiate a deal and reach consensus, you have
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