A controversial bill promoting youth employment was passed in the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday. House Bill 2523 targets 18-to-22 year olds for a pay rate lower than the state’s minimum wage. The rate would be the national minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour. The bill’s opponents argue paying younger, part-time employees significantly less than Arizona’s minimum wage, which is 11-dollars an hour, will increase financial hardship and create a subclass of workers. They add it would also create an incentive for businesses to hire the under-22 year old set versus other older age groups. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.