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Senator: Virginia could have second-highest minimum wage in U.S.

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Republican state Sen. Bryce Reeves delivered a sharp attack on Democratic legislators Sunday, blasting them for pushing divisive social issues and a costly agenda at the General Assembly.

"There is a disappointing undertone to this year's session. While Governor McAuliffe and others have been talking about the Virginia Way' of lawmaking, the reality has often been very different," Reeves said.

"Partisanship has been on the rise here in Richmond. And as has been the case with some of our leaders in Washington, those who do not like the rules or fail to get the result they want from the legislative process are either ignoring those rules."

In a video, the Spotsylvania senator said:

"For the last several years, Democrats have regularly beat up Republicans, claiming that our party's elected officials focus too much attention on social issues. And now that the Democrats hold all the statewide offices and successfully manipulated the Rules and precedent to wrest control of the Senate, which two issues have been prominent for Virginia Democrats? Abortion and same-sex marriage.

"The Democrats' main focus on social issues serves as a reminder: Virginia Democrats are no different from their national counterparts; our Democrats are Obama Democrats.

"We can see this, too, in some of the other issues being promoted by the Democrats. The Obama Administration wants to raise the minimum wage. Virginia Democrats want to raise Virginia's minimum wage, too. Their vote this week would give Virginia the second highest minimum wage in the entire country. That may be the shortest route possible to ending Virginia's status as America's 'Best State for Business.'"

Looking ahead to the second half of the legislative session that ends in mid-March, Reeves expressed hope for improvement. But Republicans in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates are bracing for battle with the evenly split Senate, where Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam hold the tie-breaking vote.

"We still have a long way to go," Reeves said. "Let's hope the 'Virginia Way' the Democrats reference so frequently in their rhetoric becomes something other than a hollow talking point."

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