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Missouri legislative panel blocks wage hike for home care

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Republicans in the Missouri Senate want to make sure the governor doesn't create a health care exchange without their consent.

  A legislative panel has blocked Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services from increasing wages for home care workers.

House members and representatives on the oversight committee voted 7-2 Tuesday to block the pay increase for workers who tend to aging Missourians and others who can't care for themselves.

The department rule would have increased the current $7.65 an hour minimum to $8.50 to $10.15 for home care workers.

But lawmakers said the department doesn't have the authority to increase those wages.

Committee vice-chairman Republican Rep. Jay Barnes of Jefferson City says it should be up to the Legislature to decide whether to raise that minimum wage.

He says lawmakers have until 30 legislative days into next year's session to vote down the rule, which won't take effect until then.

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