February 18, 2003
House Approves Bill To Raise Minimum Wage
The Associated Press
SANTA FE The state minimum wage would increase to $5.15 an hour, mirroring the federal rate, under legislation passed by the House on Tuesday.
Rep. Al Park, D-Albuquerque, who sponsored the bill, said the proposed increase would apply to about 20,000 workers, mainly in small businesses exempt from the federal minimum wage law.
Currently, the state minimum wage is $4.25 an hour.
The bill passed the House on a 41-23 vote, and goes to the Senate.
Supporters said the lowest-paid workers need an increase in their buying power.
Opponents, mainly Republicans, said an increase in the minimum wage could mean fewer entry-level jobs for young people.
"The people it hurts most are teen-agers," said Rep. Earlene Roberts, R-Lovington.
Former Gov. Gary Johnson, a Republican, vetoed similar proposals to raise the state minimum wage.