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Around New Mexico

Gov. urged to sign wage bill

SANTA FE — A labor union-affiliated group is urging Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to sign a minimum wage increase.

A spokeswoman for the group called Working America said 1,200 signatures and photo petitions were delivered Monday to the governor’s office in support of a measure approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour.

Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell called the petitions a “political stunt.” He said the governor will veto the legislation because it would make the state’s minimum wage the fourth-highest in the nation and could cause businesses to reduce jobs.

Lawmakers rejected a proposal backed by the governor to raise the hourly minimum wage to $7.80, which is the same as Arizona.

Professional licenses online

SANTA FE — Engineers, nurses and professionals in other fields will be able to apply for and renew their state licenses online under legislation that’s been signed into law by Gov. Susana Martinez.

The governor said Monday the state Regulation and Licensing Department estimates the current paper-based licensing system costs nearly $300,000 in postage and other supplies.

The state hopes to speed up the licensing system and reduce costs by allowing agencies to accept applications and renewals online.

The measure was approved by lawmakers during the recently completed 60-day session of the Legislature.

Felon arrested at border

SANTA TERESA — Federal authorities say a Mexican man with a criminal history has been arrested at the New Mexico border.

U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station said Monday that 38-year-old Isaac Mata Vizcarra was taken into custody for trying to enter the country illegally.

During processing, Vizcarra’s fingerprints and biographical information were submitted to an automated identification system.

Authorities said records revealed that Vizcarra has previous felony convictions for criminal sexual contact with a child and burglary, along with resisting and obstructing justice.

They say he also has been previously deported.

Vizcarra was booked into the Otero County Prison awaiting prosecution.

Authorities didn’t immediately know Vizcarra’s hometown in Mexico or if has a lawyer yet.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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