The California Senate has approved an increase in the state’s minimum wage.
The bill by Democratic Senator Mark Leno would increase the minimum wage to $11 an hour by next January, and to $13 an hour by July 2017. Beginning in 2019 it would include an escalator to keep the minimum wage in line with inflation.
Leno says a higher wage will spur more economic activity and help address California’s high poverty rate.
"It is time that we make it illegal to pay sub-poverty wages in California," he says.
But Republican Senator John Moorlack say the higher wage will hurt California businesses.
"And we need to honor work,” he says. "We need to honor the work of those that are creating the jobs that are paying the taxes that allow us to subsidize the transportation and everything else.”
California’s current minimum wage is $9 per hour. It is set to increase to $10 next year.