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Morning Read: Gray Supports Minimum Wage Increase -- With or Without Federal Change

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Mayor Vincent Gray says he supports President Barack Obama's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 -- but even if that doesn't happen, he's open to raising the District's minimum wage independently.

If the federal increase occurs, D.C. minimum wage would actually jump to $10 because, by law, the District's minimum wage is fixed at $1 above the federal minimum wage. (D.C.'s minimum wage is currently $8.25.)

Gray told reporters Wednesday morning that raising the minimum wage would obviously help workers.

But according to the Washington Examiner, such a hike could cost the District jobs because, at some point, an inflated minimum wage would force employers to cut jobs.

Even if the federal minimum wage is not raised, Gray said he wants to hear feedback from community and business leaders about raising the minimum wage independent of the federal government.

Read more here.

IN OTHER NEWS:

* The stage is set for a showdown among lawmakers in Richmond after the Virginia Senate passed a transportation plan that's drastically different from the House version. (News4)

* The Loudoun Times says there is no foundation for McDonnell’s transportation plan, meaning it will start to deteriorate just as he exits office. (Loudoun Times)

* Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling breaks with his fellow Republicans to support raising the gas tax as part of the transportation funding plan. Bolling supported the governor’s original plan, which did away with the gas tax. (Washington Post)

* New Hampshire Democrats have offered to pay for Cuccinelli to come to their state for a book reading. (The Virginian-Pilot)

* The Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC are teaming up to launch a campaign against Cuccinelli. (Politico)

* There has been reported progress in Maryland transportation funding talks, with O’Malley still keen on using an increase in sales tax to drive funding. (Capital Gazette)

* A staffer for Republican Virginia lieutenant governor nominee Jeannemarie Davis allegedly emailed some college Republicans, offering to pay them to be delegates at the Republican convention. Davis' campaign says the staffer no longer works for the campaign and was "totally at fault." (Not Larry Sabato)

* The Washington Post Editorial Board says it would be unwise to weaken the independence of the District’s CFO office. (Washington Post)

* Maryland lawmakers want steeper fines for sewage spills, which annually dump millions of gallons of untreated waste into local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. (Baltimore Sun)

* A task force created by a D.C. Superior Court judge recommended that District police use computers and staff not associated with a particular case to administer photo lineups to prevent influencing potential witnesses. (Washington Post)

* Governor O’Malley will appear Thursday before a pair of legislative committees considering a bill to repeal the death penalty. (WBAL Radio)

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