A GOP state senator won’t allow a $12-an-hour statewide minimum wage to advance in the Legislature.

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OLYMPIA — Just weeks ago, Republican lawmakers were debating whether to pass a minimum-wage increase rather than face the possibility of an even larger proposal appearing on the ballot next year.

They’ve apparently made up their minds: Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, announced Tuesday he wouldn’t be giving the minimum-wage bill a committee vote.

House Bill 1355, sponsored by Democrats to phase in a new $12 state minimum wage over four years passed on a party-line vote in the House and provoked a sharp debate along the way.

But Baumgartner, who chairs the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, canceled his committee’s Wednesday meeting — the last day for House bills to get a committee vote and advance in the Senate.

For Baumgartner, it boiled down to another version of the Seattle vs. Eastern Washington divide.

“This proposed minimum-wage increase would be devastating to countless small businesses,” he said in prepared remarks. “I won’t put people in Eastern Washington out of work to placate the egos of extreme Seattle liberals.”

Groups supporting the minimum-wage bill — as well as bills to provide paid sick leave and equal pay for women, which also won’t get votes — vented their frustration.

“The notion that those aren’t worth the committee’s time to take a vote [Wednesday] is pretty unfortunate,” said Geoff Potter, spokesman for Service Employees International Union 775. “The clear message that came out of [Monday’s] hearing … is that increasing our minimum wage deserves action and is an idea whose time is now.”

The news comes as the city of Seattle begins phasing in its $15 minimum wage, and Sage Wilson, spokesman for Working Washington, said “the movement for higher pay and workers’ rights is only growing stronger and spreading to more communities in our state.”