From Senate Democrats
On a straight party-line vote, and after a highly emotional debate, the state Senate passed a bill to raise the statewide minimum wage by a dollar to $8.50 an hour. Senate Bill 416, sponsored by Senator Richard Martinez (Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe, District 5) and Senator William Soules (Dona Ana, District 37), passed the Senate by a 25-17 vote.
The minimum wage bill is a centerpiece in Democratic legislation to help working families. The increase would provide nearly $2000 a year for full-time employees earning minimum wage.
“This amount of money is not insignificant to workers trying to support their families. There is a real need out there,” said Senator Michael S. Sanchez, Senate Majority Leader.
Although opponents of the bill have argued that it will negatively impact small businesses, advocates believe that the increased wages will go directly into local economies to purchase basic necessities, such as food and medication.
“Hard working New Mexicans deserve to be paid a fair wage that will allow them to provide for their families,” said Senator Richard Martinez. “Even with the increase in the minimum wage, a family of four will still be below the poverty level. But this is a step in the right direction.”
Senate Bill 416 now heads to the House.