Maryland attorney general pushes higher minimum wage

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler will push Friday for a higher minimum wage, joining a growing chorus of state officials calling for better pay for Maryland's lowest-earning workers.

Gansler, a Democrat who plans to run for governor, is one of the first state-wide elected officials to publicly back legislation to raise the minimum wage for $7.25 to $10 per hour by 2015. Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown have said they are considering introducing legislation next year to do so.

Gansler's campaign plans to announce his support for the idea Friday at the Gaithersburg headquarters of the SEIU union.

Earlier this month, Rep. John Delaney, also a Democrat, said he would use some of his personal fortune to work toward raising Maryland's minium wage.

Maryland's minimum wage equates to $15,000 annually for full-time workers, which is below the federal poverty line for families. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have higher wages by law.

Gansler said in a statement that the state's minimum wage is disproportionately paid to women and that raising it would help stabilize the middle class.

"Clearly the time has come to raise the minimum wage here in Maryland," Gansler said. "While the economy shows signs of recovery, too many working families are struggling."

A bill to raise the minimum wage failed in committee during the Maryland General Assembly session this year.

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