Virginia lawmakers send Youngkin bills to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democrats who control the Virginia General Assembly sent Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin legislation on Friday that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2026.

Identical bills that would bump the current $12-per-hour minimum wage to $13.50 on Jan. 1, 2025, and then to $15 on Jan. 1, 2026, cleared the Senate and House of Delegates on party-line floor votes, TV station WRIC reported.

The legislation is a top priority for Democrats and progressive advocacy groups and builds on a push the party started several years ago, when the minimum wage stood at $7.25 per hour. Advocates say the measure will help working families afford basic necessities and keep up with inflation, while opponents have argued it will harm small businesses.

The bills face an uncertain future — Youngkin has indicated his opposition, though he has not explicitly said he will veto them. Youngkin told reporters earlier this year he didn’t think the legislation was necessary “because the market is handling it.”

Virginia Democrats began an effort to increase the minimum wage in 2020, when they were in full control of state government. They passed legislation that year — which took effect with a delay due to the coronavirus pandemic — establishing incremental increases up to $12, with further bumps requiring another Assembly vote.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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