Bill to increase minimum wage clears Maryland Senate

The plan to raise Maryland's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour cleared Maryland's Senate Saturday afternoon.

Although lawmakers must still work out details on who would be exempted from the hike and how long it would take to implement, compromises reached by key lawmakers and Gov. Martin O'Malley earlier in the week suggest the Senate version will become law.

That plan, approved by senators in a 34-13 vote, calls for incrementally raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 in July 2018,  a year later than the House of Delegates plan and two years later than O'Malley initially approved.

It also creates a "training wage" for younger workers during their first six months on the job, freezes the wage for tipped workers at $3.63 an hour and ties minimum wage increase to raises for people who care for developmentally disabled people.

On the Senate floor Saturday, senators adopted two more tweaks that effect how much amusement parks have to pay their workers.

Advocates for raising the wage praised the vote and urged the House to accept the changes.

Matthew Hanson, campaign director of Raise Maryland, called Saturday's milestone "fantastic."

The House must still approve all Senate changes by Monday night, when the General Assembly adjourns for the year.

Raising the wage was O'Malley's top legislative priority during the final session of his two-term tenure.