Maine Legislature approves bill to increase Maine minimum wage to $15 an hour

Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 6:48 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - Both chambers of the Maine legislature recently passed a bill that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by January, but the future of the bill still remains unclear.

“An Act to Create a Livable Wage by Increasing the Minimum Hourly Wage,” sponsored by State Rep. Benjamin Collings of Portland, was narrowly passed in the House by a vote of 71-70 on Monday. On Tuesday, the bill passed 22-11 in the Senate.

The bill would increase Maine’s minimum wage from the current $13.80 to $15 an hour by January 2024. Then in 2025, the minimum wage would increase annually based on the cost-of-living index.

“Amid rising costs and inflation, the last thing Maine people need is for lawmakers to make it harder for working families to get by,” Sen. Mike Tipping, D-Orono, said in a statement. “I’m proud that Senate Democrats stood united against cutting the minimum wage and instead finally increased the minimum to $15 next year. It’s not a living wage anywhere in Maine, but it will help a lot of families afford groceries, gas, health care and housing as prices continue to increase.”

Gov. Janet Mills is not as thrilled with the bill. A spokesperson for Mills says the Democrat supports the system put in place by the 2016 referendum, which increased the state minimum wage from $7.50 to what it is today. Mills has not committed to vetoing the bill, but the spokesperson said Mills would prefer Maine continue to follow the current path.