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D.C.'s Minimum Wage Going Up To $11.50, But Activists Want Another Dollar

D.C.'s minimum wage is already rising to $11.50 an hour, but activists want another dollar.
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D.C.'s minimum wage is already rising to $11.50 an hour, but activists want another dollar.

The District's minimum wage is already set to go up to $11.50 by 2016, but some activists want the city's residents to vote on a measure that would bump it up by another dollar and include tipped workers in the wage hikes.

The D.C. Board of Elections is set to review language for a ballot initiative submitted by D.C. Working Families that would increase the city's minimum wage to $12.50 by 2017 and index it to inflation thereafter.

The initiative also calls on the minimum wage for tipped workers to increase, a proposal that was scrapped from the Council bill after restaurant owners expressed concern over the cost. Under the initiative, the minimum wage for tipped workers would progressively increase from the current $2.77 to $12.50 in 2021. (Under current law, if a tipped worker doesn't make at least $8.25 an hour with tips included, the employer has to make up the difference.)

The board is set to review the initiative's language on June 4, and if it's approved, proponents will have six months to collect 23,000 signatures to place it on the November ballot.

If they succeed, it may not be the only initiative that residents will get to vote on: A group will start collecting signatures next week for an initiative that would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Much like the minimum wage initiative, the marijuana legalization measure would be broader than a Council bill decriminalizing possession of marijuana.

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