Md Senate, House pass different $15 minimum wage bills

By: David M. Higgins II

On Thursday night the Maryland Senate passed a $15 per hour minimum wage bill that gradually increases the rate until 2025. In that bill is a provision that companies under 15 employees have until 2028.

The Maryland House of Delegates passed a similar bill on March 1, 2019.The House bills requires all businesses to be at a $15 per hour rate by 2025.

Both versions of the bill also contain differences on how much additional funding the state would provide in future budgets for health and human services for those that serve people with disabilities and offer addiction treatments- to pay their workers.

Both versions of the bill continue to allow tipped employees, such as bartenders and servers to make a base wage of $3.13 per hour, but employers would still be required to make sure their hourly wage plus tips equaled or exceeded the $15 per hour minimum.

Governor Hogan has come out against the $15 per hour minimum wage and countered with a $12.10 per hour rate by 2022. He also added that future wage increases be determined only if surrounding states have a minimum wage equal to at least 80% of Maryland’s minimum wage

Hogan has not publicly stated he will veto a minimum wage bill. If he were to do so, he faces a potential override as both the House and Senate versions passed the bills by veto-proof numbers.

Both bills will now have to be considered by both bodies of the General Assembly to try and come to an agreement on one bill.

Five amendments to the bill were defeated Thursday night, including measures that would have a set a lower minimum wage in rural counties and required surrounding states to raise their wages to $15 in order for Maryland to set a $15 minimum wage.