Following Connecticut’s lead, Maryland became the second state to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour Monday, the mark set by President Obama in his push to persuade Congress to set that standard nationally.
By an 87-47 vote, Maryland lawmakers approved a wage hike from the federally-mandated $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by July 2018 – two years later than Gov. Martin O’Malley advocated. The hike will be achieved in five incremental raises, starting with a jump to $8 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015. Counties can vote to set their own minimum wage even higher.
In a statement, O’Malley congratulated lawmakers ”for giving so many Maryland families the raise they deserve.” It had been a top legislative priority for the Governor in his final term.
Jockeying to replace him in November are state Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and House of Delegates Member Healther Mizeur –each of whom have spoken out in favor of increasing the minimum wage.
Nearly two dozen states have voted to raise the minimum wage above the federal benchmark. Democrats in Minnesota also struck a deal Monday, raising one of the country’s lowest minimum wages to $9.59 an hour. But Obama’s proposal has still stagnated in Congress. He is expected to take executive action this week to address gender-based pay disparity by requiring federal contractors to submit wage data by sex and race and by prohibiting contractors from retaliating against employees who share wage data.
“The Maryland legislature did the right thing for its workers today by increasing the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour,” Obama said Monday in a statement. “Maryland’s important action is a reminder that many states, cities and counties – as well as a majority of the American people – are way ahead of Washington on this crucial issue.”