ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers are back in St. Paul Tuesday. The House and Senate are opening the 2014 legislative session. It’s a short session this year — lawmakers will adjourn by May 19.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not without drama, especially concerning the minimum wage hike.

For Democrats, this may be the top priority of the year. Raising Minnesota’s minumum wage, which is among the lowest in the nation.

A rally was held at the Capitol on day one of the session to raise the minimum wage from $6.15 an hour to $9.50 an hour. And then automatically raise it every year with inflation.

Democrats are hoping to pass it in the next 14 days but Republicans are calling for a slowdown to look more closely at its effect on business.

“And I’m hopeful that we’re going to get a minimum wage close to $9.50,” said Rep. Paul Thissen, MN House Speaker. “If not at $9.50 and resolve some of those other issues, get it passed on the floor and to the governor within the first couple weeks here.”

Minnesota’s in the bottom four states of the country with that $6.15 minimum wage.

If it goes up to $9.50, almost 400,000 Minnesotans would get a raise.

Pat Kessler