BERLIN — With the 2014 General Assembly session winding down to its last hours, several important issues are yet to be resolved, but a bill that will incrementally increase the minimum wage in Maryland was passed by the House on Monday and now heads to the governor for signing.

The House voted 87-47 on Monday to approve the Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014, a bill that will ultimately increase the state’s minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour by 2018.

The first incremental increase will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The longer phase-in period was just one of many amendments attached to the bill before its passage.

In an issue followed closely in the resort area, the bill will freeze the base wage for tipped employees at the current $3.63, or 50 percent of the $7.25 minimum wage. Some lawmakers wanted the minimum wage to tipped employees to be increased in kind, but the measure didn’t get any traction.

In addition, the bill creates a training wage for workers under the age of 20. Amusement park workers will be capped at 85 percent of the minimum wage. Also, restaurants and bars that earn under $400,000 annually will be exempt from the mandated minimum wage hike.
More details about the bill along with local reaction will be provided as they become available. The session ends at midnight on Monday and several other bills of local importance are still being debated.