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Calif. Minimum Wage Increase Nears Governor's Pen

  

UPDATE 6:17 p.m.: Next week, the minimum wage in California could be on a path to rise to $15 dollars an hour.

The state Legislature passed a bill Thursday and Governor Jerry Brown says he will sign it Monday.

The bill raises the minimum wage by 50 cents in each of the next two years and then a dollar a year after that, until it reaches $15 an hour in 2022. The wage would be adjusted for inflation in subsequent years. For business with fewer than 25 employees, the increases would be delayed by a year.

The governor could also pause scheduled increases, if the state falls into recession or budget deficits.

Floor debate took four hours between the Assembly and Senate, but bills passed by wide margins in both chambers -- largely along party lines. Republicans argued the measure would cost jobs.

"I think this is going to result in less work, not more; fewer hours, not more; or, no job at all," said Assemblyman Jim Patterson.

Democratic Assemblyman Roger Hernandez said the increases are reasonable.

"This is a measured approach, certainly compared to the two ballot measures that have been circulating throughout our state," Hernandez said.

Labor unions had been working to qualify their own wage increase for the November election, which would have risen more quickly and without possibility of delay. Brown struck a deal with Democratic lawmakers and labor unions to pass this bill instead.


UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: (AP) - California lawmakers have approved the nation's highest statewide minimum wage of $15 an hour to take effect by 2022.

The legislation passed Thursday now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign it into law after previously working out the plan with labor unions.

Democrats who control both legislative chambers hailed the increase as a boon to more than 2 million of California's poorest workers and an example to the nation as it struggles with a growing gap between rich and poor.

Republicans echoed fears from business owners and economists that the annual increases - eventually tied to inflation - would compound California's image as hostile to business.

The Assembly passed SB3 with a 48-26 vote. The Senate followed, 26-12.


12 p.m.: (AP) - The California Assembly has green-lighted a plan that would create the highest statewide minimum wage in the nation of $15 an hour by 2022.

The proposal was passed Thursday and now moves on to the state Senate for consideration.

Democrats who control both legislative chambers hailed the increase as a boon to more than 2 million of California's poorest workers and an example to the nation as it struggles with a growing gap between rich and poor.

Republicans echoed fears from business owners and economists that the annual increases - eventually tied to inflation - would compound California's image as hostile to business.

The Assembly passed SB3 with a 48-26 vote.

The state of New York is considering a similar measure.

New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers continued to negotiate Thursday over Cuomo's proposal to gradually raise the state's minimum wage from $9 to $15 by the end of 2018 in New York City and by mid-2021 elsewhere in the state.

New York lawmakers face a Friday deadline to pass a budget.