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Assembly Approves Minimum Wage Increase

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon

Asm. Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville/Salinas)

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s measure would raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $9.25 over the next three years – with cost-of-living adjustments each year after that.  “It’s been six long years – six long years - since we’ve raised the minimum wage here in California.  It’s been locked in at $8 an hour, when we know the price of rent, of clothing, of food, has all gone up during that time,” Alejo said during floor debate.

Republican Assemblyman Donald Wagner recognized supporters’ compassion but argued the measure would hurt California businesses and cost the state jobs.  “This bill takes us the wrong way and it flies in the face of economic reality. You may wish it were different, but it isn’t.  You can’t legislate on your hopes.  You can’t legislate on what you’d like to see.  You’ve got to legislate in the real world,” Wagner said.

The measure initially was six votes short of passage, with a third of the Democratic caucus abstaining.  It eventually passed with three votes to spare (44-24) and now moves to the Senate.

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Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio