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Minimum wage hike headed to governor’s desk

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Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants, talks with Sen. James White, R-Albuquerque, left, and Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, right, on the Senate floor Thursday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — New Mexico lawmakers are sending Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham a proposal that would raise the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.

It’s the product of a late-night agreement struck in the final days of the legislative session.

The Senate adopted the agreement late Thursday, and the House signed off in the early-morning hours Friday.

Lujan Grisham helped negotiate the proposal with lawmakers after the two chambers adopted different proposals and couldn’t agree on identical legislation.

The $12 level is higher than what had been approved in the Senate, but it doesn’t have the inflation adjustments sought by the House.

The sponsors of the two competing proposals — Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, and Sen. Clemente “Meme” Sanchez, D-Grants — announced the deal during a conference committee meeting Thursday, saying they’d each agreed to give a little as part of a compromise.

Under the proposal headed to Lujan Grisham, the minimum wage would climb to $9 at the beginning of 2020, to $10.50 in 2021, $11.50 in 2022, and to $12 in 2023.

There would be no inflation adjustment after that.

A lower wage would be allowed for students with after-school or summer jobs – of $8.50 an hour, starting in 2020.

The minimum wage for tipped workers would also climb, eventually reaching $3 an hour in 2023.

The legislation wouldn’t pre-empt local jurisdictions that have established higher minimums on their own, such as Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

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