Lawmakers debate lower minimum wage for teens

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri lawmakers are considering lowering the state's minimum wage -- but only for teenagers.

A Senate small-business committee has debated legislation that would allow employers to pay 75 percent of the state minimum wage to workers younger than 20. Republican Sen. Tom Dempsey of St. Charles says his bill would spur the hiring of younger workers to help them get experience.

Under the bill, the lower minimum wage would expire in 2013. Employers could not fire more experienced workers to hire younger people who could be paid less.

Business groups applaud the idea, but unions say it would be unfair to pay people less solely because of their age.