- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Gov. Gina Raimondo has marked the passage of legislation to raise Rhode Island’s minimum wage with a ceremonial bill signing.

The governor was joined by state lawmakers Monday to mark the occasion.

Raimondo says she’s proud to raise the state’s hourly rate from $9 to $9.60 starting Jan. 1.

President Barack Obama, who has been pressing Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, commended Rhode Island.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says Rhode Island should remain competitive with neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut, who have increased wages.

Lawmakers initially considered raising the rate to $10.10, which Raimondo supported.

But organizations representing businesses said they couldn’t afford it, and leaders of both chambers agreed to trim the increase.

Warwick Democrats Sen. Erin Lynch and Rep. David Bennett, who have led past efforts to increase the minimum wage, sponsored the bills.

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