Connecticut state lawmakers have become the first in the country to pass legislation increasing the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017, the same rate President Barack Obama wants for the federal minimum wage.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy applauded the move, saying he'll sign it Thursday in New Britain, where Obama appeared to press for a $10.10 national wage.
In back-to-back votes Wednesday, the bill passed the House of Representatives, 87-54; and the Senate, 21-14.
Malloy will sign the bill at 6 p.m. at Cafe Beauregard, in New Britain, where President Obama had lunch the day he spoke at Central Connecticut State University about his own proposal to raise the minimum wage.
The National Employment Law Project said Connecticut is the first state to pass a $10.10 minimum wage bill. Similar proposals are also being considered by lawmakers in Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and other states.
Connecticut’s minimum wage is now $8.70 an hour. Next year, it jumps to $9.15, then to $9.60 in 2016. In 2017, it will reach $10.10.
Republicans roundly criticized the bill, saying it would hurt struggling small business owners and stymie job growth.
Obama released a statement on Wednesday night praising Connecticut for passing the minimum wage bill.
"Today, the Connecticut Legislature took an important step towards raising the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and giving more Connecticut workers the raise they deserve. When I visited Connecticut earlier this month I was joined by Governor Malloy and three of his fellow New England governors, who represent just a few of the many states, cities, and counties across our country working to raise their minimum wages," Obama said.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the year that the minimum wage will reach $10.10.