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State Senate Passes $15 Minimum Wage

Rachel Baye

A bill increasing Maryland’s minimum wage passed the state Senate along party lines Thursday with enough Democratic votes to override a potential veto by Gov. Larry Hogan. The legislation would gradually raise the wage to $15 an hour by January 2025 for most businesses.

During Thursday’s floor debate, Democrats said the change will help low-wage workers support their families.

Baltimore Sen. Cory McCray, the bill’s sponsor, said his mom recently told him a story from when he was young, about waiting in line to pay her rent.

“She said, ‘As I’m standing in this line,’ she said that, ‘I wanted to scream because I knew that I was giving my entire check up to pay my rent and I didn’t know how I was going to feed you all.’”

Republicans said raising the minimum wage will force businesses to relocate across state lines or lay off employees, echoing one of the concerns Hogan has raised.

Although the House passed the bill two weeks ago, the Senate amended it to allow businesses with fewer than 14 employees to increase the minimum wage more slowly, hitting $15 in 2028. The House has to approve that change before the bill goes to Hogan.

Hogan has said he does not like the bill, but he has not said whether he will veto it.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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