By Ian K. Kullgren
Gov. Kate Brown signed historic increases to the minimum wage into law Wednesday, claiming a major win for Democrats and promising to uplift the working poor.
Speaking to reporters in her ceremonial office at the Capitol, Brown said the bill is a well-crafted compromise between labor groups and businesses that demonstrates Oregon's wise culture of governing.
"I am extremely proud of the collaborative spirit of the stakeholder groups that worked to develop this legislation," Brown said."Oregon has not only avoided a number of potentially problematic ballot measures, we have taken a very smart approach in a way that makes sense for workers and for businesses no matter where in Oregon they are."
The bill gives Oregon the highest statewide minimum wage rates in the nation, to $14.75 inside Portland's urban growth boundary, $13.50 in midsize counties and $12.50 in rural areas by 2022.
President Barack Obama lauded Brown, saying in a statement: "I commend the Oregon Legislature and Governor Kate Brown for taking action to raise their state's minimum wage...Congress needs to keep up with the rest of the country. They need to act, and finally give America a raise. And until they do, I'll continue to encourage states, cities, counties and companies to act on their own to support hardworking families."
Kate Brown signs minimum wage bill Gov. Kate Brown gives remarks before signing a bill to raise wages to $14.75 in Portland.
(c)2016 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)