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Minimum Wage legislation passes in Connecticut House of Representatives, heads to Senate

HARTFORD -- Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz are hailing the Connecticut House of Representatives today for adopting legislation that will raise the minimum wage in the state to $15.00 through a gradual series of increases over the next several years, and then index it to the federal employment cost index.

“If our economy doesn’t work for everyone, then it doesn’t work. It’s that simple,” Governor Lamont said. “I’m doing everything possible to engage the business community so they can grow here, relocate or stay and hire Connecticut residents who represent the top workforce in the country. In order to grow, we need policies that protect our workforce and the small businesses who need them. Raising the minimum wage will help lift families out of poverty, combat persistent pay disparities between races and genders, and stimulate our economy. This compromise represents a fair, gradual increase that will improve the lives of working families in our state who struggle to pay for childcare, afford tuition, put food on the table, pay the mortgage, or cover the rent. I applaud the action taken by the House today and urge the Senate to swiftly approve as well so that I may proudly sign this into law.”

“Women’s issues are economic issues and in Connecticut, the majority of minimum wage earners are hardworking women,” Lt. Governor Bysiewicz said. “Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour lifts up families in our state, especially the over 170,000 households that are headed by women. It also helps get us closer to closing the gender pay gap and provides relief for all workers by allowing them to meet basic financial needs.”

The legislation is HB 5004, An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage. It closely mirrors legislation Governor Lamont introduced earlier this year raising the minimum wage to $15.00.

The bill next needs to be approved by the State Senate before it can be transmitted to the governor for his signature.

Other lawmakers and groups around Connecticut made statements on the legislation:

“I want to thank Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, Majority Leader Matt Ritter, and Chairwoman Robyn Porter for their tremendous work during the overnight debate on raising the minimum wage," said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney. "The Speaker and Majority Leader worked with all willing and reasonable groups looking to give working people a fair raise. And the entire state owes Robyn Porter a debt of gratitude for her determination and stamina to debate and answer questions throughout the night in order to benefit the over 330,000 Connecticut residents that will receive more money in their paycheck.”

“The debate on the minimum wage took all night but the result was well worth the wait,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “Hundreds of thousands of working people in Connecticut are now one step closer to receiving a much deserved and long overdue raise. Thank you Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, Majority Leader Matt Ritter, and Chairwoman Robyn Porter for your leadership and tireless effort in getting this bill passed.”

“We are pleased that a $15 minimum wage bill has passed the House and we encourage the Senate to quickly pass it as well,” said Juan Hernandez, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU, a $15 for CT Coalition member. “It has taken years of work from advocates and working people, but we finally stand on the brink of raising basic living standards in Connecticut and diminishing our state’s standing as one of the most economically unequal in the nation. Although the bill contains compromises, it still marks a major step forward for hundreds of thousands of minimum wage workers and for our general economic prosperity.”

“Workers across Connecticut like me are celebrating the historic passage of the $15 bill in the Connecticut House today, and we encourage the State Senate to follow suit as soon as possible,” said Richard Grimes, Burger Kings worker and Fight for $15 leader. “Working families should not have to couch surf, live in a car, in a homeless shelter, or under a bridge, as I and many of the workers I know have been forced to do. We should be able to pay rent and have a meal without thinking, 'should I save this money for the gas bill?' Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would put an additional $1.2 billion a year into the paychecks of Connecticut’s lowest-paid workers and it will flow directly back into our local stores and business – helping all of Connecticut to thrive.”

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