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California To Raise Minimum Wage To $15

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The California State Legislature voted Thursday to raise California's state minimum wage to $15 by 2022. The bill will be signed by Governor Brown on Monday, according to the L.A. Times.

When Governor Brown signs the bill, California will officially become the first state to develop a plan to raise the minimum wage beyond $10.

There's been a lot of news this past week regarding California's minimum wage. Just last week, we reported that the Service Employees International Union had amassed enough signatures to place a $15 an hour minimum wage initiative on the November ballot.

By Saturday evening, reports from Sacramento were hinting that Governor Jerry Brown would unveil a legislative plan to raise the wage without a statewide vote. Brown announced that plan on Monday.

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Specifically, California will raise its minimum wage from its current $10 to $10.50 on January 1, 2017, and then to $11 in 2018. Beginning in 2019, the wage will rise $1 annually until 2022, when it will settle at $15. Then, in 2024, California's minimum wage will rise again, beyond $15, based on inflation.

The plan passed the state Assembly with 48 votes to 26, broadly supported by Assembly Democrats. Two Democrats—Tom Daly of Anaheim, and Adam Gray of Merced—voted against the bill. In the State Senate, the bill passed 26 to 12.

"We have systemic, decades-long double-digit unemployment," Gray said to the L.A. Times. "While $15 an hour probably isn't even high enough for areas like San Francisco and parts of Los Angeles and our other urban centers, it's too high for some small businesses and some communities."

Mark Leno, a Democratic Assemblymember from San Francisco, argued the opposite to the Times, explaining, "Two point two million Californians are currently earning minimum wage, and they are struggling in poverty because it is a sub-poverty wage."

For reference, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25, unchanged since 2009.