The Maryland House of Delegates has approved a bill that would gradually increase the state's minimum wage from $10.10 per hour to $15 an hour in 2025. The debate now moves to the Senate, which has not yet taken action.
The bill approved Thursday morning by the Senate Finance Committee also requires the governor to put more money in the budget to help state-funded health and human services organizations — such as those that provide behavioral health services and that help those with developmental disabilities — pay their employees more.
The Senate Finance Committee’s 8-3 vote sends the measure to the full Senate for consideration.
“It’s probably going to be a very vigorous debate on the floor,” said Sen. Ed Reilly, an Anne Arundel County Republican.
Sen. Joanne Benson, a Prince George’s County Democrat, wasn’t thrilled that it will take so long for workers to reach a $15 minimum wage under the bill.
The Senate and House will ultimately have to agree on the same details for the wage increase to send the measure to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk.
In addition to not having different rates of increase for different size employers, the recently passed House version of the bill has different funding requirements for the state-funded health organizations.
The Republican governor has voiced concerns that raising the minimum wage might chase jobs out of the state and end up hurting low-wage workers more than helping them. But he has not said definitively whether he supports or opposes the wage increase.