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1/16/2003 House leaders seek hike in minimum wage
STATE HOUSE – Saying the measure is long overdue, House leaders today introduced legislation that would raise the minimum wage in Rhode Island.

The bill would increase the rate to $6.75 an hour. The current minimum wage in Rhode Island is $6.15.

“This measure is long overdue for the hard-working families of Rhode Island,” said the bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Paul V. Sherlock (D-Dist. 20), who was recently appointed chair of the House Finance Committee. “It is important that we recognize those that are near the bottom of the economic scale. It is the right thing to do, and now is the time to do it.”

The General Assembly last raised the minimum wage in 2000. The current proposal would hike the minimum wage to $6.75 on July 1, and would call for a cost of living increase every July 1st. Figures from the U.S. Department of Labor would be used in calculating the increases.

A person currently working a 40-hour week and making minimum wage would bring home $246 before taxes. With the increase, that same person would make $270 before taxes.

“This is a step in the right direction,” said House Majority Leader Gordon D. Fox (D-Dist. 4), who cosponsored the bill. “Thousands of families in Rhode Island will benefit from this legislation.”

Once introduced into the House of Representatives, the measure will likely be sent to the House Finance Committee for consideration.

Other sponsors of the bill include Rep. Frank A. Montanaro (D-Dist. 15) of Cranston, Rep. Thomas C. Slater (D-Dist. 10) of Providence and Rep. Paul E. Moura (D-Dist. 2) of Providence and East Providence.

For more information, contact:
Dana Rae Laverty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457