On March 26, the state senate of Connecticut approved a bill that will raise minimum wages there to the highest in the nation. The bill pushes the current minimum of $8.75 an hour to $10.10 an hour and comes following cries from state and federal Democrats to control the growing rift between rich and poor in the United States.

The bill was passed roughly along partisan lines in the Democrat-controlled Connecticut state senate, with a vote of 23-13. It will need to be approved in the state’s lower house, which is also controlled by Democrats.

The ruling is designed to ease the cost of living for Connecticut citizens. The state was recently ranked as the fourth most expensive to claim residence in, falling just behind Washington D.C., Hawaii and New York in overall cost.

“A low minimum wage forces the government to subsidize the cost of employment while privatizing the profits, said Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “As a result, the costs are shifted to government in the form of aid to low wage workers. President Obama and Governor Malloy are right; the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living and fulltime work should pay fulltime wages.”

Those earning minimum wage under the new rules would make $21,008 per year. Currently, the federal poverty guideline for a family of four is $23,850. The wage increase will jump to $10.10 in 2017, following another increase to 9.15 in 2015 and 9.60 in 2016.

While the wage increase will make the Connecticut’s minimum wage the highest state minimum, it will still not be the highest in the nation. According to Reuters, Washington D.C. will have a state minimum of 11.50 per hour starting in 2016, and workers in Sonoma, California, have the highest entry pay rate, at $15.38 per hour.

To have your voice heard in this month InsideCounsel magazine, forward your comments along with your credentials to digest@insidecousnel.com.

For more on state and federal labor and employment law check out the stories below:

Indiana water company cited for overpaying executives

Social media use at work raises employment discrimination concerns

Labor & Employment Digest: April 2014