2016 | Politics

County Council Expects To Consider $15 Minimum Wage Bill Later This Year

Council member George Leventhal said Health and Human Services Committee may begin reviewing the bill in December

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Montgomery County Council members at a town hall meeting in Silver Spring Wednesday night

Andrew Metcalf

The Montgomery County Council could begin working later this year on legislation to raise the county’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

Council member Marc Elrich, who introduced the bill to incrementally raise the minimum wage in April, said the legislation is “absolutely necessary” while speaking Wednesday night at a County Council town hall meeting in Sligo Middle School in Silver Spring attended by about 75 people.

“People can’t live on the minimum wage now,” Elrich said. The council member also sponsored legislation that went into effect in 2014 that incrementally raises the wage to $11.50 by July 2017. The county’s current minimum wage is $10.75.

His new bill would continue those incremental increases to $12.50 in 2018, $13.75 in 2019 and $15 in 2020.

Elrich said he hoped the council would begin committee hearings on the proposed minimum wage bill later this month, but council member George Leventhal said the hearings probably won’t begin until at least December.

Leventhal, chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee that will initially review the bill, said Wednesday that council staff has asked for more time to conduct an economic analysis of the bill’s impact on business in the county.

“I’ve asked staff to work as hard as they can and coordinate with other council members,” Leventhal, who supports the bill, said. “I’m eager to get it done and have asked staff to find a time.”

Multiple residents last night spoke out in support of the bill, saying it would help them better afford housing and support a family while living in the county.

When the council passed the previous minimum wage increase in 2014, the county coordinated with the governments of Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C., which also raised their minimum wages at the same time.

In June, D.C. lawmakers approved minimum wage legislation that incrementally raises wages to $15 per hour by 2020.