California passes $15 minimum wage

SACRAMENTO, CA (KTRK) -- There were cheers and fears as California became the first state to approve a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Dozens of union members and low-wage workers packed the hallways of the State Capitol in Sacramento, and the gallery of the assembly chambers.

Watchers were eager for a payoff for a three-year campaign for the $15 minimum wage.

Many say the bill isn't what they wanted, because it's phased in over six years. The law could also be delayed if the economy sours.

Guadalupe Salazar works for McDonald's, and says she can't support her daughter who lives with others.

"I need 15 now," Salazar says. "I can't pay for baby sitter, transportation, kids are expensive."

Opponents of the bill argued the bill will cause layoffs closures of small businesses, like child care centers.

"The very people who are supposed to benefit from a wage increase will no longer have access to child car that allows them to work in the first place," says Republican assembly member Ling Ling Chang.

The majority wasnt persuaded, as the measure passed 48-28.

There was also reaction from union members listening to the debate outside.

There were no cheers from Assembly Republicans, who lead the opposition.

"A few are going to get a wage increase, many more are going to lose their jobs," says Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes.

Salazar disagrees, saying she will spend the extra money.

"I would love to go to the movies, theater, ice cream, then there are lunches with my daughter...and other things I can't do right now," Salazar says

The Assembly was the bill's biggest obstacle. Senate Leader Kevin DeLeon indicating that the bill is a lock in the Senate.
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