D.C.’s ‘living wage’ bill still in limbo

D.C. Mayor Vince Gray is still waiting to receive the bill that would increase the minimum wage for people working in big box stores to $12.50 an hour. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

WASHINGTON – A D.C. bill that sparked a national debate because it would require big retailers to pay workers a minimum of $12.50 an hour remains in the hands of the D.C. Council more than 40 days after lawmakers officially approved it.

“It would be good if we could get the bill and move on with this, but that’s not in my control,” D.C. Mayor Vince Gray told WTOP Wednesday.

The council passed the bill supporters dubbed the “Living Wage Bill” early last month, but has not forwarded it to the mayor.

The measure would affect Wal-Mart, Costco, Lowe’s and other retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more that have retail space of 75,000 square feet or more.

Those businesses would be required to pay workers $4.25 an hour more than the current D.C. minimum wage.

Top business executives, including Wal-Mart officials, have threatened to scrap plans for expansion in the District, with some calling the measure discriminatory.

“We’ve had meetings where people have come and have had a position here and a position there. We’ve even had one or two groups that came in where the groups themselves were not fully together,” Gray said.

The mayor won’t say definitively whether he will sign or veto the measure, only telling WTOP, “you give consideration to lots of things.”

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