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Connecticut Lawmakers Become First In U.S. To Approve $10.10 Minimum Wage

Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford (file/Used with permission of the Connecticut General Assembly and the League of Women Voters of Connecticut Education Fund, Inc.)

Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford (file/Used with permission of the Connecticut General Assembly and the League of Women Voters of Connecticut Education Fund, Inc.)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — In a move that won the praise of President Barack Obama, Connecticut State lawmakers voted Wednesday in favor of raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

The state Senate voted 21-14 in favor of the legislation, immediately sending it to the House of Representatives. The House went on to vote in favor of the legislation 87-54.

The National Employment Law Project says Connecticut is the first state to raise the wage to $10.10. Similar proposals are also being considered by lawmakers in Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and other states.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy applauded the move, saying he will sign it Thursday in New Britain, where Obama appeared to press for a $10.10 national wage.

President Obama also lauded state lawmakers’ efforts, and said he wants to see minimum wage increases across the country.

“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,” Obama said in a statement. “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. I support these efforts, and I commend Governor Malloy for his leadership. But to truly make sure our economy rewards the hard work of every American, Congress must act.

Senate President Donald Williams (D-Brooklyn, Conn.) called the bill “a modest step forward” to help those who have the least.

But Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield), who is running for governor, said businesses cannot afford the proposed increase and jobs would be lost.

Under current law, the state’s minimum wage is scheduled to climb by 30 cents to $9 on Jan. 1, 2015. Under the bill, it would instead increase to $9.15 an hour. It would go up to $9.60 on Jan. 1, 2016 and to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017.

An estimated 70,000 to 90,000 people in Connecticut earn the minimum wage of $8.70.

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