State lawmakers approved a bill Thursday that would boost California’s minimum wage to $10 an hour within three years.
The bill passed in the Senate by a 26-11 vote. Hours later it won approval in the Assembly with a 51-25 vote.
Both votes fell along party lines, with democrats supporting the bill and republicans opposing it.
Governor Jerry Brown (D-California) was expected to sign the measure once it reached his desk.
“This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy,” Brown said in a statement.
But critics countered increasing the minimum wage could lead to job losses and force some companies to cut workers’ hours.
In a statement on its website, the California Chamber of Commerce called the bill “a job killer.”
The legislation would raise the minimum wage from the current $8 an hour to $9 an hour next year, and $10 dollars an hour by 2016.
Washington State currently leads the nation with a minimum wage of $9.19 an hour. Once California’s minimum wage increases to $10 an hour, it will be the highest in the nation.