Gov. Kate Brown says she will sign minimum wage bill

Gov. Brown said she would sign the bill after Legislature passed it on Thursday.

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The three-part bill will increase the minimum wage in three state regions over the next six years.

The passage of the bill means nearly 5 percent of the state’s workforce making minimum wage would receive a raise this July and raises each year after that until maxing out in 2022, when increases in the state’s minimum wage will again be tied to inflation.

‘Raising the minimum wage for someone who is working poor is the difference between being able to pay rent and not being homeless, or losing their home,’ Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, said Thursday before the bill passed 32-26.

(READ MORE: Bend Bulletin)

The increase would give Oregon the highest minimum wages in the United States, and would offer the nation a tiered geographical model.

As the federal minimum wage has sat unchanged since the start of the Great Recession, Oregon is expected to follow the lead of more than a dozen other states that have raised the rate within their borders since 2014. Another dozen or so are considering taking up the issue this year, either through legislative action or ballot initiative, as issues of wage inequality and middle-class incomes have climbed to the forefront of presidential campaigns by Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton.

…Oregon’s regional approach aims to balance the needs of the rapidly growing urban powerhouse of Portland with the state’s struggling farming communities, which have long been deeply divided by their economic, cultural and political differences.

(READ MORE: Statesman Journal)

Democrat Rep. Paul Holvey from Eugene reminded the Statesman Journal that Oregon led the country into new territory with the implementation of the nation’s first minimum wage.

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