Workers throughout the state might get a slight pay increase if Gov. Rauner signs a bill that passed the Illinois State Senate Thursday, Feb. 5, on a 35-18-1 vote.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lighford (D-Maywood), “would raise Illinois’ minimum wage from $8.25 to $9 by July 1. The wage would then increase by 50 cents each year until it reaches $11 in July 2019,” according to a Chicago Sun-Times report. The bill passed a senate committee by a vote of 11-5 the previous day.
The bill would preempt the City of Chicago, which passed an ordinance that would increase the minimum wage for workers in the city to $13 an hour by 2019. At a committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Lightford addressed how the bill would affect people who work in Chicago.
“Their wage is what they passed in the City Council,” she said. “They will start at $10 an hour. And then they go 50 cents thereafter. And then, when we reach 11, then they’ll do 12 and 13. And then we’ll be prohibiting them from going beyond 13.”
“This bill is an important step forward for working families throughout Illinois and for thousands of Chicago residents who work outside the city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “In December, we raised Chicago’s minimum wage so no family who works will have to raise a child in poverty, and I’m glad to see progress is being made for working families across the state.”
Caught in the thick of an intense election, Mayor Emanuel has nonetheless come under fire for not backing a higher minimum wage increase.
Several of the Mayor’s main challengers—namely Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd)—have suggested the minimum wage be raised to $15, in addition to questioning the Mayor’s timing. The two candidates said that, if the Mayor were genuinely concerned about raising the minimum wage, he’d have advanced the issue much sooner in his term.
In his State of the State speech Wednesday, Feb. 4, newly elected Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner laid out a minimum wage plan of his own.
Rauner’s plan calls for increasing the rate from $8.25 to $10 an hour at 25 cents a year until 2022.
“[A]lthough her plan was more ambitious tan Rauner’s, [Sen. Lightford] hoped he would sign it if it ‘arrives on the governor’s desk,'” according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.