Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy
Connecticut has become the first state to pass legislation raising its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The bill was passed with strong margins in the state Senate and House and Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to sign it Thursday evening:
“I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of national importance. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it’s also good for business,” said Malloy, a first-term Democrat facing re-election.
The move is being hailed by President Barack Obama, who held a rally in Connecticut urging an increased minimum wage earlier in the month.
Connecticut was already the first state to pass a paid sick leave law, also under Malloy, and had raised its minimum wage to $8.70 last year. The new bill will increase the minimum wage to $9.15 in 2015, $9.60 in 2016, and $10.10 in 2017; currently, the highest state minimum wage in the country is Washington's $9.32, while Washington, DC, has passed a bill raising its minimum wage to $11.50 in steps.
Though Republicans in Congress are blocking an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, several states are poised to follow Connecticut's lead:
Maryland’s House this month approved raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017, which is now pending in the Senate. Hawaii’s Senate passed a similar increase. And in Massachusetts, House Speaker Robert DeLeo this month threw support behind increasing the state wage in stages to as much as $10.50, after a larger jump previously passed the Senate.
The movement on minimum wage in states from Hawaii to West Virginia is good news for workers, but Congress needs to take action so that workers in the 29 states currently at the federal minimum wage aren't left behind, living in poverty.