BOSTON (CBS/AP) –  A bill that raises the state’s minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2017 was approved Wednesday afternoon in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

The bill passed 124 votes to 24.   It would gradually hike the minimum wage over the next three years.

This legislation, which has been nearly two years in the making, passed in the state Senate last week on a 35-4 vote.

The bill does not include automatic adjustments in the minimum wage for inflation, as the Senate had called for in an earlier version.

The current minimum wage in the state is $8 an hour, one of the highest rates in the country.

More than half-a-million people in Massachusetts would benefit from the raise.

Governor Deval Patrick is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

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