Legislation that would help lift California’s low-wage earners out of poverty passed the Senate today.Senate Bill 3, authored by Senator Mark Leno, would raise the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour in 2016 and $13 in 2017. The bill is jointly authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva, D-Chino.
“Despite our recovering economy, millions of Californians, many of them children, continue to live in poverty,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Full-time workers in this state should not be forced onto public assistance simply because they earn the minimum wage. It is time to lift up poor Californians and reward all hardworking employees with the resources they need to put food on the table for their families. Sub-poverty wages should not be legal in California.”
“SB 3 is the best opportunity that the state has to make a significant impact on poverty this year,” said Michael Herald, legislative advocate with the Western Center on Law & Poverty. “Low wage workers have suffered through decades of wage stagnation and rising inequality. SB 3 will put billions of dollars in the pockets of hard working Californians who will spend it on the necessities of life. The vote by the Senate today is a major victory, and we look forward to seeing it now pass the Assembly.”
SB 3 increases California’s current minimum wage of $9 per hour in two steps, to $11 in 2016 and $13 in 2017. Beginning in 2019, the minimum wage would be adjusted annually to the rate of inflation. The bill is co-sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty, United Food and Commercial Workers, SEIU California State Council and California Partnership. SB 3 is also supported by a long list of organizations and government leaders, including the Women’s Foundation of California, California Teachers Association, Children’s Defense Fund of California, California Association of Food Banks and California Catholic Conference of Bishops.