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The Latest: Compromise reached on minimum wage increase

March 15, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on negotiations to raise New Mexico’s minimum wage (all times local):

10:00 p.m.

House and Senate lawmakers have reached a compromise that would raise New Mexico’s minimum hourly wage gradually from $7.50 to $12 at the start of 2023.

A conference committee of three lawmakers from each chamber brokered the agreement Thursday to break a legislative stalemate.

The compromise proposal moves to the House and Senate for votes. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham campaigned on efforts to reach a $12 minimum wage, and House Democrats led by Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque also sought additional automatic future increases to offset inflation.

The compromise agreement would not tie future increases to an inflation index. The minimum hourly wage would rise to $9 in 2020, $10.50 in 2021, and $11.50 in 2022 before settling at $12 in 2023. Tipped worker minimum salaries would gradually rise to $3 an hour, and a student minimum wage of $8.50 would take effect in 2020 without adjustments.

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2:00 p.m.

The New Mexico state Senate has rejected a minimum wage proposal approved by the House of Representatives that would gradually raise base pay to $12 an hour.

The Senate on Thursday appointed members of a conference committee in an effort to resolve a stalemate with House lawmakers. Democrats hold majorities in both chambers.

Democratic Sen. Clemente Sanchez of Grants say the House-approved version of his bill asks too much of businesses by raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022 and tying future increases to an inflation.

The Senate has agreed to step up the hourly minimum wage to $11 without future adjustments.

Sanchez will represent the Senate in conference committee negotiations, along with Democratic Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming and GOP Sen. James White of Albuquerque.