ST. PAUL (AP) - The Minnesota House has taken a step toward giving the state sole authority over whether to hike the minimum wage or require sick leave, a move opponents say strips local control from cities in favor of the state businesses.

The Republican-controlled House passed the bill following hours of debate Thursday, mainly along party lines. The legislation blocks local minimum wage measures and paid sick leave ordinances set to go into effect this summer in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The bill has generated fierce debate over workers' rights versus business needs in Minnesota. Supporters say the legislation would end a confusing and costly patchwork of ordinances in Minnesota cities.

A similar measure is headed for the state Senate.