The State Senate passed an increase for the minimum wage Friday afternoon. The raises will take place over the next three years.
The House originally proposed a 75-cent raise for the next two years, but a Senate committee changed the bill on Wednesday, so that the increase is more gradual. The total $1.50 raise will come 25-cents next year, 50-cents the next, and 75-cents the final year.
Critics in the Senate pointed out that this slower change will make workers miss out on over $1,000 in wages next year and close to $500 the next. Local community leaders say that while any raise is good, more should done to help working people afford rent, food, and medical care.
"Eventually it would improve wages for everybody up and down the line. That's certainly something that this country needs and specifically, we know in this community, it's something that we need," said Robert Gribben, executive director of the Fairmont Community Development Partnership.
The bill now goes back to the House for approval before it heads to the governor's office.