William J. FordPolitics

Md. Senate OKs Bill for $15 Minimum Wage

Maryland’s Senate voted Thursday to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which supporters say will allow more than 500,000 residents a chance to not only earn a livable wage, but contribute to the economy as well.

The majority-Democrat Senate passed the bill on a 32-15 vote. The legislation now heads to a joint committee with the House, which recently passed its own version of the historic measure.

“Just knowing the people back home and people across the state of Maryland are counting on good decisions similar to the one that was made today,” said Sen. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City), who sponsored the legislation. “You’re left feeling like you make tough choices a lot of times in the General Assembly, but today I felt like the little guy won.”

Not everyone supported the measure. Sen. Justin Ready (R-Carroll County) aired his thoughts on Twitter before voting against it.

“I’m opposed to this bill which will exacerbate youth unemployment and hurt our small businesses and regional competitiveness,” he tweeted. “Artificially raising wages will not help the people it’s aimed at.”

Maryland workers protest outside the governor's mansion in Annapolis on March 13 for Gov. Larry Hogan to support legislation increasing the state's minimum hourly wage to $15. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Maryland workers protest outside the governor’s mansion in Annapolis on March 13 for Gov. Larry Hogan to support legislation increasing the state’s minimum hourly wage to $15. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

The Senate and House versions of the bills differ slightly. The House version increases the wage by 2025, but the Senate allows small businesses with 14 or fewer employees to raise the hourly wage to $15 by 2028.

Members from both chambers must form a committee to hash out that and other minor details before legislation is sent to the Republican governor’s desk for a signature.

However, Gov. Larry Hogan sent a “compromise” letter to the presiding officers for a minimum hourly wage increase to $12.10 by 2022. The state’s current wage is $10.10.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said earlier this week Hogan would probably veto the bill.

The Maryland Fight for $15 coalition hopes the governor reconsiders.

“The state’s current $10.10 minimum wage isn’t working for hundreds of thousands of Maryland households,” Ricarra Jones, chair of the Fight for $15 coalition, said in a statement. “Today’s Senate vote to pass this bill following a majority vote in the House is a solid step forward for hard-working Marylanders. We are thankful to our bill sponsors and all the legislators who have fought to raise the wage floor to help working families by putting money back into their pockets to address the rising costs of housing, childcare and other expenses.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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