In a Thursday afternoon hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Cory McCray (District 45 – Baltimore City) presented legislation (Senate Bill 280) that would gradually increase Maryland’s minimum wage to $15 by the year 2023. Under the legislation, the state minimum wage would rise to $11 by the end of 2019 and then an additional $1 per year until the year 2023.
Maryland’s current statewide minimum wage is $10.10 per hour and was put in place on July 1, 2018. Two Maryland counties receive rates above the state minimum wage. Both rates are in place as a result of local legislation. Prince George’s County workers receive an $11.50 per hour local minimum wage while workers in Montgomery County receive a $12.25 hourly minimum. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and has been in place since July 2009. Since the establishment of the $7.25 federal minimum, over twenty states (including Maryland) have established state minimums above that rate.
“This bill (and increase) is about people who work in hospitals and hotels (and the like),” said Senator McCray. In responding to a question regarding current varying county minimum wage rates from Senate Finance Committee Vice Chairman Brian Feldman (District 15 – Montgomery County), McCray followed: “I hope that everyone would be uniform at one standard.”
According to a recently released Gonzales Research and Media Services Poll, some 61% of Marylanders approve of the proposed minimum wage increase including 81% of African-Americans polled, 69% of women polled, and 52% of those polled who do not classify themselves as either a Democrat or a Republican.
McCray is joined in sponsorship of the legislation by twenty Senate colleagues including Senators Beidle (District 32 – Anne Arundel), Benson (District 24 – Prince George’s), Carter (District 41 – Baltimore City), Ellis (District 28 – Charles), Feldman (District 15 – Montgomery), Guzzone (District 13 – Howard), Hayes (District 40 – Baltimore City), Kagan (District 17 – Montgomery), Lam (District 12 – Howard and Baltimore Counties), Lee (District 16 – Montgomery), Nathan-Pulliam (District 44 – Baltimore City and Baltimore County), Patterson (District 26 – Prince George’s), Peters (District 23 – Prince George’s), Pinsky (District 22 – Prince George’s), Rosapepe (District 21 – Prince George’s and Anne Arundel), Smith (District 20 – Montgomery), Waldstreicher (District 18 – Montgomery), Washington (District 43 – Baltimore City), West (District 42 – Baltimore County), Young (District 3 – Frederick County), and Zucker (District 14 – Montgomery).
Senate Bill 280 is cross-filed with House Bill 166 (sponsored by Delegate Diana Fennell) and was heard in the House Economic Matters Committee on February 8, 2019. Both Senate Bill 285 and House Bill 109 now await votes in their respective committees of origin.