After a final reading that went on for hours, the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday voted 8-1 to approve a bill that will spike minimum wages to $11.50 per hour by 2017.
The Montgomery County bill increases the wage in yearly steps. The bill was sponsored by Marc Elrich (D-At Large).
“The final bill we passed today isn’t perfect, but it is meaningful and important. Our residents will see a real and significant increase in the money they earn for their hard day’s labor,” Elrich said in a statement emailed shortly after the vote.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said he would sign the bill into law.
“I supported the unsuccessful effort last year at the State level to increase the minimum wage and strongly believe that Montgomery County should act now,” Leggett said in a statement. “I believe it is appropriate, given our higher cost-of-living, for the county to have a higher minimum wage than other parts of the state.”
Federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour and that is also the rate for Maryland.
The local bill included an amendment that extended the phase-in period from three years to four.
The bill’s co-sponsors Council President Nancy Navarro (D-Mid-County) and Valerie Ervin (D-Eastern County) said they were concerned that implementing the wage over a four-year stretch would hurt the chances of regional action, The Washington Post reports.
Prince George’s County Council held off on a vote on a similar bill to see how Montgomery County would act.
The Washington, DC Council was expected to vote on its minimum wage bill Dec. 3.
Montgomery Councilman Phil Andrews (D-Rockville and Gaithersburg) voted no.
“Last month, I joined all of my colleagues in passing a resolution urging the state to significantly raise the minimum wage. That was, and still is, the best approach," Andrews said. "I am disappointed that the County Council has rushed ahead and unnecessarily adopted a minimum wage bill that is so flawed."