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 and says he'll sign it today in New Britain, where Obama appeared to press for a $10.10 national wage.
The National Employment Law Project says Connecticut is the first state to pass a $10.10 minimum wage bill. Similar proposals are being considered by lawmakers in Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and other states.
Republicans roundly criticized the bill, saying it would hurt struggling small business owners and stymie job growth. State Senator John Kissel tried to change the bill and tie future increases to the rate of inflation but that proposal was defeated largely on a partyline vote.
The bill passed the state House , 87-54, and the Senate, 21-14.