Updated: Friday, 15 Mar 2013, 8:55 PM MDT
Published : Friday, 15 Mar 2013, 2:31 PM MDT
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) —
The New Mexico Legislature Friday night wrapped up work on three key issues, sending the governor bills to raise the state's minimum wage, establish a state-run health insurance exchange and shore up the solvency of a pension plan for educators.
New Mexico's minimum wage would increase to $8.50 an hour — the fourth highest rate in the nation — under the measure approved largely along party lines as it rushed to beat a Saturday deadline for adjournment. But it is opposed by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
Supporters said the increase would help workers cope with rising prices.
Opponents warned it could hurt businesses.
Only three states —" Washington, Oregon and Vermont — have minimum wages higher than $8.50 an hour. Washington has the highest state wage rate in the nation at $9.19 an hour.