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HELENA — House Republicans are beating back Democratic attempts to advance a pay raise for state employees in favor of their own pay-plan proposal.

House Bill 13 promises pay raises of 5 percent for each of the next two years for employees who have labored for years under a pay freeze. It was negotiated between the governor's office and employee unions.

But a Republican-led panel rejected the deal Wednesday, and the full House on Thursday resisted an attempt by Democrats to bring the measure to the floor.

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Republicans say they want a plan that focuses pay raises to employees who haven't gotten them.

Rep. Duane Ankney of Colstrip said plenty of higher-level workers still received pay raises under the pay freeze, while other workers such as prison guards did not.

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