Connecticut House passes $15 Minimum Wage

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Thousands of workers in Connecticut are a step closer to getting a pay raise. 

The Connecticut House, following a marathon 14-hour debate, has approved hiking the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next four and a half years. 

Governor Ned Lamont is praising the move. 

He campaigned in favor of the $15 minimum wage during last year’s election.

They started talking at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday night. The final party line vote came a little after noontime on Thursday. The vote was 85 to 59.

Representative Robyn Porter (D-New Haven) got group hugs and congratulations from fellow lawmakers and members of the 5,000 strong building maintenance union for ushering the $15 minimum wage bill through a grueling 14-hour House debate. 

Porter is co-chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee.

Related Content: Labor Committee approves minimum wage increase bill in Connecticut

The revised final bill will raise the current $10.10 minimum wage to $11 on October 1st of this year, then, up to $12 on September 1st of next year. This will be followed by $13 on August 1st of 2021, $14 on July 1st of 2022, and $15 per hour starting on June 1st, of 2023.

After that, the minimum wage would be adjusted upward by the State Labor Department according to the “Employment Cost Index” so lawmakers would never have to vote on it again.

Moments after the final vote,  Porter said, “We’re trying to bring equity into wages and wages create sustainability and give people the opportunity to have some dignity.” 

The Minority Leader in the House, Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby), led the Republican opposition to the bill. Their position is that it is a job and small business killer.

“Connecticut is a terrible state to do business in. We are the last state to have come back for jobs. People are moving out of here in droves,” said Klarides.

Related: House leaders plan to move on $15 Minimum Wage bill tonight

Restaurants will continue to be able to pay wait staff and bartenders a discounted pay rate because those employees get tips. The current rate is $6.38 for wait staff and $8.25 for bartenders. Under this bill, that would not change.

Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) said, “A little tired, I might even be described as a little cranky.  A lot of emotion went into it. We were working from the wee hours of yesterday morning to come up with this compromise bill that we passed in the House today.”

Republicans complain that this was a compromise among Democrats in the House, Senate and the Democratic Governor, and no compromising with them. 

The bill moves on to the Senate where it is expected to pass with just Democratic votes. The Governor is praising the bill and is expected to sign it when it arrives at this office.

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