RI Senate OKs minimum wage hike

Rhode Island's minimum wage would go up 25 cents to $8 per hour next year under legislation approved in the state Senate.

The Senate voted 31-6 in favor of the wage hike Wednesday. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

The minimum wage is now $7.75 in Rhode Island. The federal minimum is $7.25 an hour.

"I see young parents, sometime single mothers, with several minimum wage jobs and it's hard enough for them to make ends meet," said state Sen. Erin Lynch, the bill's sponsor.

If the House approves the bill, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee signs it, then Rhode Island would match the rate offered in Massachusetts.

Opponents including Sen. Dawson Hodgson warned that the increase could be a burden to small businesses and prompt them to hire fewer workers.

Lawmakers voted last year to increase the wage by 35 cents. It was the first increase since 2007.

NBC 10's Alison Bologna contributed to this report.