The minimum wage came to the Senate and it passed on a party-line vote. The bill would raise the minimum wage from the current $7.50 per hour to $8.50 per hour -- but with a few huge exceptions.
Any business with ten or less employees would not pay the new minimum wage. And those who receive a "training wage" for the first year, those under 18 and those in the agricultural industry would still be part of the old minimum wage.
This would be the first minimum wage increase since 2009 in New Mexico -- and according to sponsor Richard Martinez, D-Espanola, it should be raised even higher. Martinez believes the minimum wage should be increased to $10 per hour
Even with the lesser dollar amount and carve-outs, the bill faces a likely veto if it gets to the governor's desk.
Before that would happen, it would have to navigate the House.
On to the Word:
- El Grito has a cool Storify of the minimum wage debate. I don't just say that because NM Telegram's Twitter account (@NMTelegram!) was quoted.
- Another restaurant isn't paying the new minimum wage -- and KOB couldn't find anyone who would admit to being the owner. This time it is Vietnam Restaurant 2000 that won't pay the new wage.
Sorensen claims the restaurant’s owner or bookkeeper write down a wage of $3.83 an hour on their timecards just to make it look like they’re complying with the city’s new minimum wage for tipped employees. Then the owner tells employees they were overpaid and owe money.
“The only way to get my check is to pay back the owner the difference from how the bookkeeper paid me, because [the restaurant] is paying me $2.50 [an hour, plus tips] and the bookkeeper is paying 3.83 [an hour, plus tips]," she said.
- The state House approved a bill that would bar stores from selling alcohol to those who have ignition interlock devices.
- Former State Rep. Conrad James was among three UNM regents who were confirmed by the state Senate.
- A National Park Service report found that national parks in New Mexico had a big economic impact on the state:
A new National Park Service report showed that nearly 1.5 million national park visitors in New Mexico in 2011 spent $102 million and supported 1,538 jobs in the state. Nationwide, visitors to the 398 units of the National Park System had a combined $30 billion economic benefit that supported 252,000 jobs. The report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.
- Former University of New Mexico, and Pittsburgh Steeler, linebacker Robin Cole after many amendments, Dan McKay at the Albuquerque Journal reports.
- The city council also unanimously upheld a denial of a permit for a Westside Wal-Mart.
- A biodiesel company executive says his company will leave New Mexico if the state takes away a mandate that all commercial diesel fuel in the state has at least 5 percent biodiesel. The company is building a plant in Clovis.
Albuquerque Business First:
The Legislature passed the 5 percent biodiesel rule in 2006, but it never went into effect. Now, State Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, has introduced a bill to repeal it.
The mandate never took effect because the state doesn’t have the infrastructure to support that much biodiesel and the fuel costs too much, said a spokeswoman for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. The mandate would require 1.5 million to 2 million gallons of biodiesel in the state each month, but the state has only one producer with a capacity of 1.5 million gallons a year, said spokeswoman Katie Goetz.
- Aztec city commissioners voted to give their successors and other city officials raises.
Salary for the mayor will go from $650 to $1,000 per month, which would be $12,000 annually; and commissioners will go from $600 to $800 per month, which would be $9,600 annually.
- The former Schott Solar plant is on the lease market.
- The Albuquerque Journal has another example of the fact Albuquerque it is a hot air balloonists's world and we're all just living in it.
The proposal makes it clear that the “launching and landing of hot air balloons” is allowed in all zoning districts in Albuquerque. Separate land-use documents, such as sector development plans, could still prohibit balloons, and bans on trespassing would apply, too.
- A New Mexico judge who resigned after being accused of a number of types of misbehavior from the Judicial Standards commission says that his reputation has been tarnished, the Associated Press reports.
- The Las Vegas Optic has the local report.
- Rio Rancho continues its search for a city manager after the new city council, led by Tea Party-aligned councilors, forced James Jimenez to resign.
- President Barack Obama nominated Ernest Moniz to lead the Department of Energy which is a big deal in New Mexico because of Los Alamos and Sandia national Labs.
- The Taos News has the local report on outcry after the secretary-designate of the Public Education Department overturned a decision on a charter school.
Commissioner Jeff Carr said he is proud of the Public Education Commission’s decision to appeal that ruling to district court and ask for a stay to prevent the schools’ opening in the meantime.
“It is unprecedented; it’s the first time we've done it,” Carr said. “We’re not arbitrary or capricious in our decision-making.”
The commission voted 8-1 in September to deny Taos International School’s application. However, that decision was appealed, and Skandera reversed the decision earlier this month. The school seeks to offer a dual-language and International Baccalaureate education to as many as 360 students in grades K-8.
- John Fleck looks at what to do with the silvery minnow if runoff falls short.
- Keep Las Cruces Beautiful received some national recognition "for distinguishing itself as an exemplary affiliate organization in litter prevention, recycling and beautification efforts" according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.
- Another federal wolf plan is being put off after outcry from ranchers.