Senate Votes to Raise Minimum Wage for Hundreds of Thousands of Workers.
Law provides regional approach; considers differing needs of diverse economies
SALEM – The Oregon Senate today passed a three-region minimum wage measure that phases in increases in the state minimum wage over six years. Senate Bill 1532 passed on a 16-12 vote. “This measure strikes an important balance. It provides a much-needed raise for hard-working Oregonians struggling to get by and the gradual six-year phase in gives businesses more certainty about the future,” said Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham).
Senate Bill 532 would phase in a minimum wage of $14.75 in the Portland metropolitan area, $12.50 in rural counties and $13.50 in the Willamette Valley Northwest Oregon, as well as Jackson, Josephine, Deschutes, Wasco and Hood River counties. In contrast, a proposed ballot measure would raise the minimum wage statewide to $13.50 by January 2018.
“We are standing up for hard-working Oregonians who are struggling every day to put food on the table and a roof over their heads,” Sen. Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland) said. “No one who works full-time should be forced to live in poverty. Senate Bill 1532 is a modest and gradual increase in the minimum wage, and Oregonians desperately need a raise.”
The three-region approach in Senate Bill 1532 provides for different wage levels based on cost of living in different areas of the state. It helps address the needs of those facing high cost of living in the more populous areas of the state while also adjusting to fit the economic realities of mid-sized and rural communities.
The bill now heads for the House for review where it has a good chance of passage. If the legislature doesn’t pass a higher minimum wage law, petitioners vow the issue will go on the ballot for the voters to decide.