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JUNEAU - Alaska's minimum wage would get a boost under a bill that has passed the state Senate.
Lawmakers voted 17-2 Wednesday to set the state rate to 50 cents above the federal minimum wage starting next year.
The state's rate would get a smaller bump this July - from $7.15 to $7.25 - to align it with a rising federal rate. The rate would then move to $7.75 an hour on January 1.
Sponsor Bill Wielechowski, an Anchorage Democrat, said the measure is a compromise that would help workers on the low end of the economic scale without hurting small businesses.
The bill now goes to the House.