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A bill that would raise Virginia's minimum wage is closer to becoming law

The bill would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour, which would take effect July 1, 2020. It would then be raised $1 per year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2024. ↵↵
Posted at 11:39 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-07 23:39:14-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A bill that could raise the minimum hourly wage in Virginia, is one step closer to becoming a state law.

Lisa Harris, who has worked at Kroger for 13 years, just above the minimum wage, said it's time to make the change.

"I stay because of the good healthcare and good pension. But the pay is not where it needs to be," Harris said.

SB-7 was introduced by Delegate Richard Saslaw. The bill would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour, which would take effect July 1, 2020. It would then be raised $1 per year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2024.

According to statewide data collected by the Commonwealth Institute, raising the minimum wage would benefit over 1.2 million people working in Virginia and much of the money would help support families.

But Nicole Riley with National Federation of Independent Business, who represents small business owners, said the wage increase would hurt small business.

"Small business owners don't have near the resources that big businesses have and I think that's probably what gets lost in the discussion is the understanding that for small business owners, it really can be a big cost for them," Riley said.

But Harris and other minimum wage workers said they can't afford not to ask lawmakers to vote for what they need.

"Whether for good or for ill, I want to see which way history turns," Harris said.

The bill now awaits approval from the Senate. If the bill gets passed by the Senate and the House then it will move to the Governors desk for approval.