Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is planning to sign a bill that would raise the state's $8 per hour minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2017.


Patrick plans to sign the bill at a Statehouse ceremony Thursday.


The bill would increase the minimum wage gradually, to $9 per hour in 2015, $10 in 2016 and $11 in 2017 _ which would be the highest in the nation.


President Barack Obama praised Massachusetts lawmakers last week for ``standing up for working men and women.''


Obama also said he looked forward to Patrick, a fellow Democrat and supporter, signing the bill.


The measure also would gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, such as restaurant servers, from $2.63 per hour to $3.75 per hour, a 31 percent increase and the first since 1999.