Governor Signs Maryland's Minimum Wage Increase into Law

- ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Governor Martin O'Malley signed about 200 bills into law Monday in Annapolis, including Maryland's minimum wage bill. The new law will raise the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2018.

"We have parents who are both working, who both care very much about their families, who are trying their best, and they cannot live a so-called normal life. This is not acceptable," said Sen. Karen S. Montgomery, (D-Montgomery County), who co-sponsored the law.

"It will put some more money in the lower-wage workers' pockets, and it will be able to help them manage their families. They have families to support just like everyone else," said Sen. Norman Stone, (D-Baltimore County), who also co-sponsored the law.

Low-wage workers say they hope the increase the governor signed into law will help them to provide even just the basic things for their families, such as food.

"We're living paycheck to paycheck, and we're not making it paycheck to paycheck. Raising the minimum wage is going to bring up the standard of living for all of us," said Cynthia Murray, a low-wage worker.

It's a standard of living that will gradually go up. The first increase will be on January 1st, 2015 from $7.25 to $8 an hour. The minimum wage will go up to $8.25 in July 2015, $8.75 in July 2016, $9.25 in July 2017, and finally to $10.10 an hour in July 2018.

"It'll offer them more stability economically and with starting their job off, being able to secure things that are necessary for them to get to work, more money to allot to gas, having more flexibility to get to work, maybe not relying on public transit as much," said Boaz Young-El, political representative with UFCW Local 400.

Many opponents of the minimum wage increase say it will hurt small businesses, but minimum wage advocates believe it will get people on the right foot.

"Right now, we have a minimum wage in Maryland that's completely inadequate to meet basic needs, and we're making incremental progress towards achieving that so folks aren't going to be struggling in poverty," said Adam Schneider, chair of the Maryland Alliance for the Poor.

You can read the new minimum wage law by clicking here.

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