Living wage becomes Md. law
Apology for slavery, ground rent bills among 205 signed
By Andrew A. Green
Originally published May 9, 2007
Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a first-in-the-nation "living wage" law yesterday, setting a higher minimum wage for those employed by state contractors and putting Maryland in the forefront of a national debate over government's role in fighting poverty.
"What this bill simply says is, 'If you're working on a contract funded by the people of Maryland, we are going to treat you in a fair and just way so you can put food on the table for your family after a day's work,'" O'Malley said.
The living wage bill was one of 205 measures the governor signed into law yesterday, including a formal apology for Maryland's role in slavery - the second such action in the nation - and a series of seven laws designed to end the seizure of homes over unpaid ground rent. A Sun investigation last year found that some Baltimore residents had lost their homes over initial debts of as little as $24.
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