FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky House has passed a bill to raise the state's minimum wage for the first time since 2009.
Under the bill, the minimum wage would gradually increase from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 per hour in July 2016. There would be 95-cent increases in three phases.
The bill cleared the House on a 54-44 vote after a three-hour debate Thursday.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says his bill would help an estimated 400,000 workers. He says they are entitled to living wages that let them buy life's necessities.
Opponents said the higher wage would force some employers to cut jobs. They said it would add costs for school districts and local governments to pay low-wage employees.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
The legislation is House Bill 1.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)