OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state House has voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour.

Representatives voted 51-46 Tuesday afternoon to raise what was already the nation’s highest state hourly minimum wage at $9.47.

The legislation, House Bill 1355, would raise the minimum wage over a four-year period in a series of 50-cent hikes. It goes next to the state Senate for consideration.

Gov. Jay Inslee watched the House floor debate in person. Democrats said they sponsored the legislation to help low-income workers. Republicans argued the bill would cut profits and lead to higher prices and fewer jobs.

Under Washington’s current law, the minimum wage goes up every January with inflation. The Employment Security Department said this year’s minimum wage hike affected more than 67,000 workers.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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