TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Backers of Florida’s new higher minimum wage have criticized a bill that deals with the increase, saying it would water down the measure by creating loopholes for employers.

Seven out of 10 voters in November approved a constitutional amendment creating a minimum wage of $6.15 a dollar above the federal minimum wage. Under the constitutional provision, the wage takes effect six months “after enactment” and must keep pace with inflation each year. The provision also says its requirements do not need state lawmakers to pass a statute to take effect.

“The language in the amendment could not have been clearer. The will of the voter could not have been clearer,” said Rich Templin, a spokesman for the Florida AFL-CIO, Feb. 9.

The state chair of ACORN, the advocacy group behind the minimum wage petition drive last year, said supporters are worried the legislation would weaken the provision. Tamecka Pierce said the proposed bill would undercut the constitutional right of employees to join in class-action lawsuits. She said it would also give employers a 15-day window to pay disputed wages before being penalized. They would be protected from damages if they can prove they acted in “good faith” when they violated the constitution. “We want to be able to live and not just work to survive but actually work to live so that we can take care of our children,” Pierce said. “We don’t want corporations to be able to put in their words.”

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