Assemblywoman Sally Lieber has introduced a new minimum wage bill, the first wage and hour bill of the new year. AB 48 is currently only a skeleton.
Existing law requires establishment of a minimum wage for all industries of not less than $5.75 per hour on and after March 1, 1998. Under existing law, the Industrial Welfare Commission is authorized to determine minimum wages in accordance with a prescribed procedure that includes the selection of wage boards to consider and make recommendations regarding wage issues. The current minimum wage for all industries is $6.75 per hour. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to increase the minimum wage effective on and after January 1, 2005.
The text merely states:
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. It is the intent of the Legislature to enact egislation that would increase the minimum wage for all industries effective on and after January 1, 2005.
Sources claim that the bill will seek an increase in the range of $1-per-hour, to $7.75 per hour. A similar two-phased increase was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger in September 2004. This time, however, Lieber reportedly hopes to tie future increases to a cost-of-living index, so that the minimum wage would rise along with inflation.
The federal minimum wage is a mere $5.15 per hour. Lieber argues that raising the state's minimum wage could benefit all taxpayers by reducing demand on public services by more than a million low-paid workers. Republicans are expected to oppose the measure, and a veto will likely follow if it passes.