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Minimum wage going up? Virginia General Assembly eyes $15 rate

Crystal Graham
virginia economy
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A $15 minimum wage may soon be the law in Virginia as a bill offering two more annual incremental increases moves through the General Assembly.

Del. Jeion Ward’s (D-Hampton) bill to raise the state minimum wage passed the House floor by a vote of 51-49.

Virginia’s minimum wage has incrementally increased from $7.25 per hour to $12 per hour over the last three years. The House bill builds on the progress by raising the minimum wage to $13.50 by 2025 and $15 per hour by 2026.

“No one who works a full-time job should struggle to make ends meet, but wages have not kept up with inflation,” said Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays in a statement celebrating the advancement of the bill. “We commend the House of Delegates for standing with workers and passing our union sister Delegate Ward’s legislation.

“The governor has said he wants to address the cost of living, so he can start by signing this bill and giving Virginia’s minimum wage workers a raise.”

The companion bill, SB1, is patroned by Virginia Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth). The bill most recently passed out of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor and has been referred to Finance and Appropriations.

A Wason Center poll shows raising the minimum wage has broad support among Virginians. A majority (53 percent) of Virginians supported raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour with 66 percent of independents and 61 percent of moderates in support.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.