Members voted in favor of the bill 13 to eight. They say it's the first time since 2006 that a minimum wage bill has passed out of the House committee.
According to officials, key provisions of the original proposal were stripped out, however, including indexing the wage to rise with the cost of living. Another amendment of the bill freezes the hourly rate that tipped workers earn at $3.63 per hour; meaning their wages would not rise as the minimum wage increases to $10.10 an hour.
A wage of $10.10 puts Maryland among the highest minimum wage rates in the country, and mirrors the current federal proposal by President Obama. Officials said after the full increase is phased in, the actual value of the minimum wage will fall each year as costs rise but the wage stays stagnant.
The committee voted down a proposal to create a two-tiered minimum wage for different communities throughout the state, which would be unprecedented in the United States. Officials said the proposal would weaken the state's minimum wage law, and would discriminate against the state's rural low-income workers.
The Minimum Wage Act of 2014 is currently scheduled to be considered by the full House on Wednesday, and have group sessions in the Senate Finance Committee through Monday, March 10, prior to a vote.
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