Senate Republicans block local government living wage

state-capitol2Thursday afternoon, Senate Republicans once again blocked Democratic efforts to help ensure that Virginia’s working families earn a living wage.

During debate on the Senate floor over Delegate Glenn Davis’s (R – Virginia Beach) HB 1608 – which would end localities’ ability to require that contractors pay wages or offer benefits above the minima established by state and federal law – Senator Dave Marsden (D – Fairfax) proposed a floor amendment to flip the objective of the bill and set a floor of $10.10 for these same contracts. However, following an objection by Senator Tommy Norment (R – James City), the amendments were ruled to be not germane.

Speaking against the bill, Senator Marsden said, “Certainly increasing the minimum wage is a legitimate strategy for local government or state or anybody to take to stimulate the economy in the environment in which they are operating, and I would ask that this bill be rejected, leave that flexibility to make that decision up to localities, and not try to dictate to them.”

After the vote, Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (D – Fairfax) pointed out that the existing policy “doesn’t affect the current jurisdictions that have it on the books. It only handcuffs localities trying to pay workers a decent wage and has zero impact on small businesses. Most of the localities that do this have had it in place for 15 years or longer.

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