Legislature explores changes to minimum wage in New Mexico


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The minimum wage for working high school students would rise by $2 to $10.50 an hour under a bill endorsed Thursday by the New Mexico Senate.

The state currently provides a lower minimum wage of $8.50 to people 18 and under.

The initiative from state Sen. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces would guarantee the same statewide minimum wage for adults and youths who stay in school. It won Senate endorsement on a 26-15 vote and now moves to the House for consideration.

Reforms adopted in 2019 gradually raise the statewide minimum wage to $12 by 2023.

President Joe Biden is proposing to raise the federal minimum wage requirement for most workers to $15 an hour from $7.25.

Advocates for New Mexico’s current discount minimum wage argue that it helps small businesses provide part-time work that might not otherwise be available to young people.

A competing bill from a coalition of House Democrats would raise the minimum hourly wage for students and tipped employees who are a mainstay of the hospitality industry.

The House proposal, scheduled for its first committee hearing next week, sets out a schedule for raising the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.

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