Senate Committee Approves Minimum Wage Hike

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—The push is on to get Gov. Martin O’Malley’s minimum wage bill through the General Assembly before the session ends midnight Monday.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports it is expected to reach the Senate floor Friday, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

O’Malley wages a campaign to raise the minimum.

But time is running out.

The governor proposes to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour, a little more than $15,000 a year, with incremental increases to $10.10 an hour.

“There are times when you have to figure out how you’re going to eat for the week based on the amount of money you have coming in,” said Kevin Wheeter, employee.

“We’re talking an additional $3 an hour once it ramps up,” O’Malley said.

A bill passed the House but was held up in Senate committee until Wednesday after the administration figured out a way to include people who work with the developmentally disabled into the mix, and it’s now headed to the Senate floor.

“Republicans, Democrats, Independents, they feel the economy is ripe for a minimum wage bill. We’re going to get a bill passed. The question is how soon, how much, and how quickly it’s going to take effect,” said Mike Miller, Senate President.

“It makes you able to breathe easy and know that you can make ends meet,” said Carrie Latimore, employee.

For those whose paychecks are affected, it can’t happen soon enough.

The Senate bill will most likely be different from the House, requiring further negotiations.

The Senate bill will have to square with the House, which is why the sooner the Senate delivers, the more likely people are to see a pay increase.

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