SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California's Legislature has passed a bill that would increase the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour within three years, making it one of the highest rates in the nation.
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 26-11 vote and the Assembly followed hours later on a 51-25 vote, both largely along party lines. Gov. Jerry 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. It 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.