Hundreds of protesters rallied outside McDonald's Chicago headquarters arguing for higher minimum wages.
The Illinois Legislature has approved a plan to ask voters whether the state should increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour.
The legislation now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who supports an increase.
“This November, Illinois voters will have the opportunity to send a clear signal to lawmakers that we must have an economy that works for everyone," Quinn said in a statement.
The Senate voted 39-17 on Wednesday to put the nonbinding question on the November ballot. The measure comes after Democrats failed to gather enough votes to increase the state's minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65 per hour.
Democratic state Sen. Kimberly Lightford of Maywood sponsored the legislation. She says the referendum gives unsure lawmakers more confidence to support an increase.
“Raising the minimum wage will benefit hundreds of thousands of hardworking men and women across our state," Quinn said. "Higher wages for employees means they will spend more at local businesses, which in turns boosts economic growth."
Republicans have called the measure an election year gimmick. Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove says the referendum is meaningless because lawmakers have wage increase proposals available.