SACRAMENTO (AP) — The state Senate has approved a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage and tie it to inflation.

Lawmakers passed SB935 on a party-line, 21-12 vote Thursday, sending it to the Assembly.

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The bill’s author, Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, says it’s needed to help lift low-wage earners out of poverty.

California’s current minimum wage is $8 an hour and will rise to $9 an hour starting in July. It goes up to $10 an hour in 2016.

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Under Leno’s bill, it would go to $11 an hour in 2015, $12 an hour in 2016 and $13 an hour in 2017. After that, it would automatically adjust to inflation.

Republican lawmakers say the state should focus on building job skills.

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