CHARLESTON, W.Va.–The House of Delegates Industry and Labor Committee has overwhelmingly approved legislation raising West Virginia’s minimum wage.
Under the bill, the minimum wage would rise from the current $7.25 an hour to $7.85 an hour July 1st and then rise again to $8.25 in July 2015.
Union members packed the cramped committee room Wednesday afternoon and looked on as lawmakers debated the bill before passing it on to the House Finance Committee on an 18-2 vote.
Bill supporters say the increase is long overdue. West Virginia has not increased its minimum wage since 2008.
Delegate Meshea Poore (D-Kanawha) said raising the minimum wage will help people struggling to pay their bills. “You have single family homes and that’s going to do a lot of good for the mother who’s trying to provide for her family.”
Delegate Troy Andes (R-Putnam) voted against the bill, saying it should be up to the employer and the employee to decide wages. He also said labor leaders who arranged for the committee room to be packed were engaged in “political theater.”