There’s a new bill to raise the state’s minimum wage several times over three years. State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) is introducing the legislation, which would raise the wage to $10 per hour in July 2015, followed by 50 cent increases in both 2016 and 2017. Lightford believes that’s in the spirit of the advisory referendum that voters supported, even if that ballot question only mentioned raising the rate to $10.
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“We wanted to take a question to the pollsters to find out from the people actually voting what did they believe would be beneficial,” Lightford said. “I see it as my basic minimum. That’s my bottom line. That’s the floor question.” The new effective date for the legislation means it can be passed with fewer votes during the veto session. The bill passed a Senate committee on Wednesday. Lightford hasn’t set a date to call the bill on the floor, only promising to do so before the end of the year.
The rate increase would apply only to workers 18 years of age and older. When asked if businesses may respond by simply hiring younger employees, Lightford said, “If they want to find themselves hiring teenagers, so be it on their product.”