Speaking of minimum wages, this past week the US House Education and Labor Committee held a full committee hearing on the Raise the Wage Act (H.582 – filed by Sanders, House Chairman Bobby Scott and a host of others) that lasted better than 7 hours. The bill would mandate an increase in the current $7.25 federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. The issue continues in play in a number of states around the country as well. Legislators in Annapolis Maryland are considering a proposal to increase the state minimum to $15 an hour by 2023 and then tether it to the Consumer Price Index. A hearing on H.166, with 76 sponsors in the House and 21 cosponsors in the Senate, was held last week before the Economic Matters Committee. The Maryland minimum wage was raised to $10.10 per hour in 2014. The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to rehear a minimum wage challenge from Birmingham that was brought by the NAACP. The case stems from a 2016 state law mandating one uniform state minimum wage. The law was enacted after Birmingham implemented its own local minimum wage and the court subsequently dismissed the challenge. The plaintiffs contend the law is racially discriminatory and violates Birmingham residents’ voting and civil rights. The case will now be re-argued before all judges of the circuit. And finally, the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office apparently didn‘t get the memo as it testified in opposition to the wage increase proposal submitted by Governor Tom Wolf; in Harrisburg last week. The IFO told the Pennsylvania House Appropriations committee in a hearing this week that it projected a loss of up to 30,000 jobs should the wage even gradually increase to $12/hour, with job losses being even greater in the event of an immediate hike.