Californian workers could soon be earning a minimum wage of $10 an hour thanks to a bill that is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
If it is approved, California would have one of the highest rates in the nation once the increase takes place in three years.
Washington state currently has the top minimum wage at $9.19 an hour, an amount that is pegged to rise with inflation. Some cities, including San Francisco, have slightly higher minimum wages.
The state Senate approved AB10 on a party-line 26-11 vote, sending it to the Assembly for a final vote that will be a mere formality before it goes to the governor.
Mr Brown indicated earlier this week that he would sign the bill, calling it an overdue piece of legislation that would help working-class families.
The bill would gradually raise California’s minimum wage from the current $8 an hour to $10 by 2016.
It would be the first increase in the state’s minimum wage in six years, and comes amid a national debate over whether it is fair to pay fast-food workers, retail clerks and others wages so low that they often have to work second or third jobs.
The rise would also be felt in Hollywood by putting pressure on pay rates for lower-rung production jobs, movie theater works and other entry-level positions.
Democrats said the bill by assemblyman Luis Alejo would help workers left behind during the recent recession.
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