New legislation that would raise the minimum wage in Maryland to exactly $10.10 per hour is now ready to be signed and made the law by Governor Martin O’Malley. In his final legislation session, increasing the minimum wage was the governor’s top priority and although the bill that was originally proposed has been severely changed it seems as though the governor will get the chance to make this campaign promise a reality. The bill will go into effect in 2018 in Maryland.
The House passed the measure by a vote of 87 to 47. Their vote was over whether or not to accept the changes that the Senate had made to the bill over the weekend.
This measure has also been something that President Obama has been pushing for recently. He has been encouraging state and local officials to increase the minimum wage to more than $10 over the past few months. Connecticut become the first state to follow through on this proposal, the minimum wage will reach $10.10 by 2017 in that state. Maryland’s bill will take over a years’ worth of extra time to become established, a measure which was adopted to give businesses more time to prepare for the transition.
President Obama called the measure an “important action” and said that it should serve as a reminder to other states and counties across this country that they can make this effective change before Washington is able to do so. The President commended those who were “way ahead of Washington on this critical issue.”
On the first day of 2015 the minimum wage in Maryland will become $8 an hour. By July of that year it will increase by $0.25 and then become $9.25 by that month in 2017. The final increase will occur in July of 2018 which will make the minimum wage $10.10 per hour. O’Malley had originally planned for the bill to have a provision where the minimum wage in Maryland would increase as inflation also increased, but that measure was taken out.
Some counties in the state are not stopping at $10 however. Montgomery and Prince George will both have minimum wages as high as $11.50 an hour in 2017. Both of these bills have already passed in their respected counties.
This increase does not affect tipped workers however. In the state these workers are given a minimum of $3.63 an hour which is 50 percent of the minimum wage before these increases. The governor of Maryland had originally sought to make these workers receive 70 percent of the minimum wage as it increased. This increase would have meant that these workers received more than $7 for every hour including tips. This measure was taken out though and their salaries are frozen at $3.63.
O’Malley said that a lot of hard work was put into this bill in order to gain a consensus that would allow for an agreement over this issue. He also said that the many Maryland families who have received this raise deserve it for their efforts.
By Nick Manai