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Progressive groups are launching a campaign to raise the minimum wage in Maryland from its current $7.25 to $10 by 2015.

Headed up in the General Assembly by Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery), the campaign, called Raise Maryland, is made up of about 20 organizations, including unions, Democratic Party organizations and Progressive Maryland, a nonprofit advocacy group for various progressive issues and a perennial supporter of efforts to boost the minimum wage.

Garagiola’s proposal gradually would raise the minimum hourly wage to $10 and ensure that future rates rise with the cost of living. The minimum wage for workers who garner tips, like food servers, would go from the current 50 percent of the full minimum wage to 70 percent.

The bill has not yet been introduced, but the campaign was set to launch Tuesday at a news conference in Annapolis.

A similar effort in 2011 to raise the minimum wage fell flat during the General Assembly session. Later in the year, advocates began pushing an online petition campaign to resurrect the issue. Currently, 19 states plus Washington, D.C., have minimum wage rates higher than Maryland’s $7.25, which is also the federal minimum wage.

hnunngazette.net