Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

New Mexico among states that raised minimum wages

SANTA FE (KSMX)- New Mexico has raised its minimum wage, adding protections against surprise medical billing and allowing more people to remove their past criminal records from public view.

New laws that took effect on Jan. 1, include the first statewide minimum wage increase in over a decade.

Base pay rises to $9 an hour — the first in a series of state minimum wage increases. The increases top out at $12 per hour in 2023 under a law signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Sponsors of the legislation said they hope to improve ex-convicts’ chances of finding jobs and restarting their lives after prison. Previously, having a criminal record expunged was limited to false accusations or misdemeanors.

Depending on the severity of the crime, waiting periods of between two and 10 years are required after completion of a sentence.

Though some severe felonies are eligible to be removed from public view, the new law won’t hide past convictions for crimes against children, offenses that caused great bodily harm or death, sex offenses, embezzlement-related offenses or citations for driving while intoxicated.

Another new New Mexico law is closing a tax loophole for homeowners who rent rooms on a short-term basis through Airbnb-style third-party websites. It has the potential to raise more money for local governments to spend on advertising for tourism.

On minimum wages, local governments including Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and the county encompassing Albuquerque already have higher minimum wage requirements than the state.

A second-tier minimum wage for high school students 18 years or younger has been set at $8.50 by the state, starting Jan. 1. Minimum pay for tipped workers such as restaurant servers is increasing from $2.13 an hour to $3 by 2023.

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