Updated Mar 28, 2019

Wave of states look to pass $15 minimum wage laws in 2019

Minimum wage protestors. Photo: Pacific Press/Getty Images

A federally mandated minimum-wage increase seems like a long-shot with the GOP-held Senate, so a collection of states are stepping up to help spearhead the "Fight for $15" movement.

Why it matters: Years-long strikes and rallies across the country have paid off, and several states with Democratically-controlled legislatures and governorships have made it easier to institute such policies with the goal of lifting people out of poverty.

Driving the news:

  • Maryland's state legislators overrode Republican Governor Larry Hogan's veto of the minimum wage bill on Thursday. The policy is going to slowly raise the minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 by 2025, reports Vox.
  • New Jersey's Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law earlier this month gradually raising the minimum wage for most workers from $8.85 an hour to $15 by 2024. The state joins California, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia in incrementally increasing the minimum wage to $15.
  • Illinois already fast-tracked its $15 minimum wage bill and will send it to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk on Tuesday.
  • Connecticut's party leadership has indicated they will send legislation to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont's desk this year.

What's next: Delaware, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Hawaii have also signaled that they will boost their hourly minimum wages later this year. On the national stage, Democrats in Congress introduced a bill on Jan. 16 to increase the federal minimum wage to $15.

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Trump: "This is going to be a very painful two weeks"

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Dr. Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 850,583 — Total deaths: 41,654 — Total recoveries: 176,714.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 184,183 — Total deaths: 3,721 — Total recoveries: 6,043.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Paying rent in a pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For many people who've lost jobs or income because of the coronavirus pandemic, tomorrow presents a stressful decision: Do you pay your rent or mortgage?

Why it matters: The new CARES Act that was signed by President Trump on Friday protects homeowners and renters who are suffering from the response to the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not “a one-size-fits-all policy rulebook,” a congressional aide tells Axios.