Maine lawmakers are poised to once again consider increasing the state minimum wage during their next legislative session.
This past Friday, the Legislature released a list of bill requests slated for screening going into their second regular session, which is scheduled to begin January 3, 2024.
The preliminary list is comprised of each request’s working title and sponsor. No additional information is yet available concerning the specific contents of these potential bills.
Rep. Valli D. Geiger (D-Rockland) proposed a bill with the working title of “An Act to Change the Minimum Wage to a Living Wage.”
Other working titles submitted by Rep. Geiger include: “An Act to Implement Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Kit Testing Reform,” “An Act to Establish Solar-ready New Construction Requirements,” and “An Act to Enhance Regulatory Decision Making Regarding Energy.”
If Geiger’s proposed minimum wage bill moves forward in the legislative process, this will not be the 131st Legislature’s first time considering a state minimum wage hike.
Earlier this year, lawmakers in both chambers voted in favor of a measure increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.
The bill — LD 1376 — was originally slated to contain language mandating that the minimum wage be increased by $1 per year until 2033, resulting in a state minimum wage of at least $24 an hour at the start of that year.
After this provision received intense scrutiny and harsh criticism during the bill’s public hearing, it was amended to include only a one-time increase to $15.
Although both chambers approved the bill last session, the legislation was placed on the Special Appropriations Table pending passage to be enacted shortly before lawmakers adjourned for the year.
Consequently, it has been carried over to next year’s session, at which point legislators will need to make a final determination of the bill’s fate.
With the limited information that is currently available regarding Geiger’s proposed minimum wage bill, it is not yet clear how the potential legislation will differ substantively from LD 1376.
It also remains to be seen how a new minimum wage bill will fare next year — should it move forward in the legislative process — considering that a great deal of effort has already been expended debating the issue last session by both lawmakers and advocates.
Rep. Valli D. Geiger (D-Rockland) did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Maine Wire.
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