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Maryland Local Leaders Stand Behind The Fight For $15

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The fight for 15 is on in the general assembly, with local leaders taking sides.

Mayor Pugh and county executives are on board, encouraging lawmakers to make $15 an hour the state minimum wage.

This includes Marc Elrich of Montgomery, Johnny Olszewski of Baltimore and Steuart Pittman of Anne Arundel, all standing with 1199 SEIU union members to support the bill.

Pittman said there are more people who are underpaid that many realize.

"We have a high median income up in the 90,000s," he said, "But they say a third of our population cannot afford the basic necessities of life and that's a lot of people,"

"Any person who works full time deserves to live a life with dignity and a fair wage," Olszewski said.

Lawrence Richardson Jr., of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, said the bill is too broad.

"Businesses that can do that, that's fantastic and we think that's great," said Richardson. "Unfortunately this is a one-size-fits-all bill and there are some businesses, small businesses, that are not in a financial position to be able to be able to afford the cost associated with an increase to the 15 dollars,"

Governor Hogan said Thursday he is up for negotiation, and met with the legislative black caucus which is supporting the bill.

"I raised some issues that they hadn't thought about or talked about and we agreed to continue to talk," Hogan said.

There is a hearing on the bill Friday.

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