California looks set to adopt the highest minimum wage in the country: $10 an hour. The state Legislature backed the move last night, voting 51-25 in favor of it after the state Senate had approved it 26-11. Gov. Jerry Brown says he'll sign the bill despite earlier concerns, Reuters notes; he was convinced when lawmakers agreed the hike wouldn't take full effect until 2016. "The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs," Brown said. "This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy."
The state's minimum wage currently stands at $8; under the bill, it would hit $9 in July of next year and $10 in January 2016. Labor unions backed the minimum wage's first increase in five years, but business groups fought the move, the Los Angeles Times notes. California's Chamber of Commerce, for instance, called it a "job killer"; a GOP state senator said it would hurt "the smaller employer, the mom and pop operation." The current highest minimum wage in the US is in Washington state, where the figure stands at $9.19 per hour.