By: Elizabeth Crisp

Voters in two Republican-controlled states this week overwhelmingly approved minimum wage hikes, giving new hope to advocates in Louisiana, where even more modest proposals repeatedly have been rejected at the GOP-dominated State Capitol in recent years.

Minimum-wage workers in Louisiana make $7.25 an hour because it remains one of just five states that never adopted a state-level minimum wage rate and, therefore, defaults to the federal rate that hasn't changed since 2009.

Missouri voters on Tuesday approved, with 62 percent supporting, a gradual minimum wage increase from $7.85 to $12 an hour by 2023. Arkansas, meanwhile, voted 68 percent in favor of increasing the minimum wage from $8.50 to $11 over three years. Workers in both states will start seeing bigger paychecks in January.

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