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6/11/2012 Minimum wage hike bill passes legislature, sent to governor
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly has approved and transmitted to the governor legislation that will raise Rhode Island’s minimum wage to $7.75 beginning January 1, 2013. It is the first increase since the minimum wage was set at $7.40 in 2007.

The House of Representatives today approved two bills calling for the increase – (2012-S2374A), by Sen. Erin P. Lynch (D-Dist. 31, Warwick), which has been approved by the Senate and now goes to the governor, and (2012-H7396A), by Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick), which still requires Senate action.

“Individuals who are working minimum wage jobs in the state, jobs that absolutely need to be done to keep many businesses open, need to earn a fair wage,” said Senator Lynch. “I don’t think the intent is to have somebody supporting a family on $7.75. We’re just looking to allow them to make just a little bit more money so they can make ends meet.”

Representative Bennett said that “This minimum wage hike, which is a five percent increase over the current $7.40, still represents a significant lag over the increase in inflation during the past five years. But an increase is absolutely necessary to help the people at the bottom of the pay scale, who are doing vital jobs for our economy and are struggling to make ends meet.”

The legislation was supported, during committee testimony, by a number of organizations, including The Economic Progress Institute, the RI Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Ocean State Action and the RI AFL-CIO.

Co-sponsors of the Senate bill are Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton), Sen. Beatrice A. Lanzi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) and Sen. Rhoda E. Perry (D-Dist. 3, Providence).

The House bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Scott Guthrie (D-Dist. 28, Coventry), Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) and Rep. Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston).

For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457