Senate Democrats Condemn Republicans’ Political Stunts at the Expense of Working Virginians

Richmond—Today, Senate Republicans defeated SB 1200, an increase to the state minimum wage, in a party-line floor vote of 21-19. Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), and Chief Patron, Senator Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg) had this to say about the vote:

“Senate Republicans are playing politics with the livelihoods of working Virginians,” said Chief Co-Patron, Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “Senate Democrats have been outspoken leaders in the fight to raise the wage for years and we continue to fight for an economy that works for all Virginians. I urge my Republican colleagues to put partisanship aside and prioritize Commonwealth families above politics.”

“It’s been a decade since hardworking Virginians received an increase in the minimum wage yet, the cost of living continues to rise statewide,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke (D-Hampton). “My Republican colleagues would rather pander to their wealthy political donors than have an earnest conversation about the need to raise the wage. I’m disappointed in the outcome of today’s vote but I’m confident that voters will remember their actions and stand with working families at the ballot box in November.”

“Virginians who work full time should be given the opportunity to earn a livable wage” said Chief Patron, Senator Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg). “No one can support themselves, let alone a family, on $7.25 an hour. It’s disheartening that, following today’s vote, so many full-time workers, especially women and minorities, will continue to live below the poverty level. I’m disappointed by today’s vote but I will continue to fight to give Commonwealth families an opportunity to earn a livable wage.”

Senator Chap Peterson (D-Fairfax City) introduced a floor substitute that provides a step increase over five years to bring the minimum wage to $15 and includes a small business carve out for businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The floor substitute was defeated in a party-line vote of 21-19.

Following this afternoon’s floor vote to defeat SB 1200, Senate Republicans voted to pass SB 1017  by indefinitely (PBI) with no discussion in Commerce and Labor Committee. SB 1017 would have increased Virginia’s minimum wage to $11.25 an hour over the course of three years. This action contradicts Senate Republican’s floor remarks that stated the entire Senate is interested in offering Virginians a raise.

According to a November, 2018 poll, 66% of Virginians support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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