Last month, the Council voted 5-4 to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, but Leggett vetoed the bill, saying the Council should instead fund a study to see if raising the minimum wage is economically viable and also asking the Council to provide an exemption for small businesses.
Last month, Leggett wrote a letter to one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-25), urging him to reconsider.
“In essence, the bill rescinds long-standing authority held by local governments which allows local elected officials to enact laws that they believe are in the best interests of stakeholders within their respective counties and municipalities,” Leggett said. “This is an unacceptable intrusion into local authority.”
Along with Davis, the bill is sponsored by two other Democrats, Del. Sally Jameson (D-28) and Del. C.T. Wilson (D-28). Davis said the bill was to help create a consistent rule throughout the state to help businesses.
“For those who would essentially say that this is an overreach or that we’re infringing upon local authority, we all got a stake in everything that goes in this state – everything,” Davis said.
While the Council and the County executive are both opposed to the bill, some members of the Montgomery County delegation to Annapolis are undecided on how they will vote.
Del. Kumar Barve (D-17) said he supports raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, but is undecided on Davis’ bill. Sen. Nancy King (D-39) is against the bill, saying it would set a bad precedent.
“I think it would be a very bad precedent to say that local counties can’t make local decisions like that,” King said.
A hearing is scheduled in the House of Delegates Economic Matters Committee for Feb. 28.