AUGUSTA – A bill that would have raised the state’s $7.50 per hour minimum wage has been defeated in the Maine Legislature.

The bill died Friday because the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate couldn’t agree on it.

The House supported a version that would have raised the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2018. The Senate backed a different version to raise it gradually to $9 and also make several changes to work rules for minors.

A group named Mainers for Fair Wages is gathering signatures to try to force a referendum on the issue in 2016.

That group wants to raise the wage to $9 in 2017. It would then be raised by a dollar a year until it hits $12 in 2020 and be adjusted after that to the cost of living.