Local officials in Virginia won’t have the power to set minimum wages within their jurisdictions, as the House of Delegates took no action on a bill aimed at giving localities that power.
A House subcommittee let the proposal, by Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria-Arlington), die without a hearing as it wrapped up its work before “crossover” with the state Senate.
Levine said the measure, which he had introduced several times when Republicans controlled the legislature, was aimed at giving localities the power to address income issues within their borders.
Neither the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce nor the Arlington Chamber of Commerce was warm to Levine’s approach, which could have resulted in a patchwork of wage levels across the region.
Several bills working their way through the legislative process would raise Virginia’s minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour, the same as the national minimum wage), or apply a higher minimum to the Northern Virginia area.
Because of the higher cost of living and scarcity of workers for lower-paying jobs, Northern Virginia already has a de-facto minimum wage closer to $13 or $14 per hour than to $7.25.
Despite the loss, the 2020 legislative session is proving more successful for Levine than past years, where he found it difficult to gain traction on bills with the GOP controlling the House of Delegates. A number of his bills appear on the way to adoption.