Legislation advances to raise Rhode Island's minimum wage

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island appears poised to raise the state's minimum wage.

The state House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday night to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour on Oct. 1. The hourly rate is currently set at $10.50.

The state Senate approved a bill last week to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour on Oct. 1 and Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo has said that she wants to raise the minimum wage.

Rhode Island’s minimum wage has been $10.50 since Jan. 1, 2019, which is lower than the hourly rates in neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“Each time we raise it, it means a bit of relief and a bit more dignity for those workers who struggle the most to afford life in Rhode Island,” Democratic Rep. David Bennett, a Warwick Democrat who sponsored the House bill, said in a statement.

Some Republicans voted against the bill, saying they were worried that the steadily rising wage threatens to hurt employers and could lead to job losses, The Providence Journal reported. Some Democrats supported the bill though they had wanted a higher raise.