Bethesda Beat Political Roundup

Posted on November 3rd, 2017 by Louis Peck and Andrew Metcalf

CASA targets Berliner, Katz on social media ahead of minimum wage vote

The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the latest version of the $15 minimum wage bill it has been considering for the past year and half.

This week, the Latino and immigrant advocacy organization CASA has been using its Twitter account to encourage Council President Roger Berliner and Council member Sidney Katz to approve the bill.

The council has been split on the issue. It voted 5-4 in January to approve a bill to increase the county’s minimum wage to $15 per hour—a measure later vetoed by County Executive Ike Leggett. Both Berliner and Katz voted no at the time.

Berliner has publicly said multiple times he would like to approve a $15 minimum wage during his council presidency and his one-year term is scheduled to end next month.

Berliner voted for a compromise bill in committee in October, which would require large businesses to implement the $15 wage by 2022 and small businesses to do so by 2024. However, the bill’s sponsor, Marc Elrich, supports a faster timeline and could introduce an amendment to implement the minimum wage sooner.

On Twitter, Casa has been tagging Berliner’s and Katz’s accounts with posts that feature videos of people saying they support the minimum wage.

Kim Propeack, the director of CASA’s political advocacy organization, CASA in Action, said Thursday the group focused on Katz and Berliner because they’re both in contentious election fights. Katz is facing a primary challenge from Rockville resident Ben Shnider, who is casting himself as more progressive than Katz.

“One is facing a very contentious race for council and the other is facing a very competitive race for county executive,” Propeack said. “So they seem like good people to apply pressure to. We’re hoping that next Tuesday, we have a 9-0 vote on the County Council and our great county executive [Ike Leggett] finishes off many, many years of distinguished public service by making sure people in Montgomery County make enough money to raise their families.”

Shnider is also applying pressure to Katz. He’s been circulating an online petition that asks Katz to support a $15 minimum wage bill with a faster timeline than the current amended version.

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Ben Shnider