CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A bill to hike the minimum wage for Wyoming workers has failed an introductory vote in the state House of Representatives.

The House voted 51-to-9 yesterday against a bill sponsored by Rep. James Byrd, a Cheyenne Democrat.

Byrd proposed hiking the state minimum wage from $5 to $9 an hour. His bill would raise the base pay for tipped employees from $2.13 an hour to $5 an hour.

Byrd said the bill would reduce demand for public services and help working people put food on the table and take care of their families.

Rep. Kendell Kroeker, an Evansville Republican, said it would be morally wrong for the state to pass a bill that would effectively prohibit businesses from hiring young, inexperienced employees.

Kroeker said it would increase the unemployment rate.