A bill to increase Maine's minimum wage is being debated by the Maine Legislature today. The measure would hike the current state minimum in 50-cent increments, to $8.00 dollars an hour next July, $8.50 in July 2015 and $9.00 an hour in July 2016.
This morning, Democratic Rep. Erin Herbig of Belfast, who supports the measure, told the Maine House that the minimum wage sets the pay scale for a wide range of jobs in today's economy.
"The current minimum wage is $7.50 an hour - this is $15,600 annually for a full-time job. This is less than $240 a week you're getting on your paycheck," she says.
But Republican Rep. Amy Volk, of Scarborough, says market forces determine what people get paid and when they should get paid more.
This story was written by Ed Morin, with reporting help from A.J. Higgins.