CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia House of Delegates voted Wednesday to raise the state’s minimum wage $1.50 over the next two years.
The standard would change from $7.25 to $8 an hour in January 2015 and to $8.75 the following January.
The bill also raises the training wage from $5.15 to $6.40 per hour.
The bill passed overwhelmingly with a dozen delegates speaking in favor of the raise. The bill now goes to the state Senate.
Boone County Democrat Joshua Barker recalled driving a snowplow for the Department of Highways for seven years. He said while he was making $7.40 per hour his family was forced to choose between necessities like bread and warm shoes. “I stand up for the highway workers who don’t get a fair wage,” he added.
Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha, noted that minimum wage workers represent a diverse demographic. “We have to stop qualifying or classifying who minimum wage workers are based on age or education. People are on minimum wage and should be paid a fair wage,” she said.
Jefferson County Democrat Tiffany Lawrence also spoke in favor of the bill. “The actual median age of a person earning minimum wage is 35 and 60 percent of them are women. These are women working to raise families, to raise children in this state,” she said.