Alibi V.26 No.5 • Feb 2-8, 2017 

Newscity

News City
Robert Maestas

State Democrats Propose Raise in Minimum Wage

Lawmakers in both the state Senate and House introduced a number of bills last week that, if passed, would raise New Mexico's minimum wage, currently $7.50 an hour. House Bill 67, introduced by Rep. Miguel P. Garcia (D-Bernalillo), wants to increase the wage rate to $8.40 per hour, starting Jan. 1, 2018, then to $9.20 per hour in 2019 and to $10.10 per hour in 2020. The bill also calls for a cost of living increase of the previous year's minimum wage rate and would raise wages for tipped employees from $2.13 per hour to 40 percent of the rate for non-tipped employees. Senate Bill 36, introduced by Sen. William P. Soules (D-Doña Ana), proposes increasing the rate to $8.45 per hour, beginning July 1, 2017, with an annual cost of living increase on Jan. 1 every year after. Small business owners—employing 10 employees or less—will be able to continue paying $7.50 per hour adjusted annually on Jan. 1 of each following year if accompanied by a cost of living increase. For employers with 10 or more employees, a training exception could be applied, which would allow the employer to pay trainees $7.50 per hour during their first 6 months on the job. SB 36 would also increase the minimum wage for tipped employees to $2.65 per hour with annual adjustments. House Bill 27, introduced by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Bernalillo), would raise the minimum wage rate to $15 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2018. The rate would then increase each year, in accordance with the cost of living. Under this bill, tipped employees who regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips would have the same rate as non-tipped employees. Many major cities in N.M.—including Albuquerque—already have minimum wage rates that are higher than the state's.

West Side to See More Schools

Albuquerque Public Schools broke ground on the West Side near Nusenda Community Stadium on a new, $50 million facility last week. The new school will house up to 1,600 kindergarten through eighth grade students and will be home to a gym, cafeteria and multimedia center. The as-yet-unnamed school's design will be similar to George I. Sanchez Collaborative Community School in southwest Albuquerque, with a focus on collaborative learning environments that bring all grade levels together and moves away from the traditional isolated classroom model. The 245,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in 2018. District officials say the exponential growth experienced on the West Side has left the area in need of facilities, and the new school will help with overcrowding. The project was approved by voters with a wide margin in February’s $575 million bond and mill levy election. The bond is also funding the nearby $8.4-million Family School West Side, modeled on the popular Desert Willow Family School. Officials say to expect more schools opening in the area over the coming years.