Legislators look to repeal law that allows unequal pay for disabled workers

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A pair of state representatives are calling out a New Mexico law that allows employers to pay disabled workers below minimum wage for being out-of-date. Now, they’re trying to repeal it.

The bill the legislators are proposing is very simple. It looks to undo a decades old law.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Angelica Rubio and Rep. Joanne Ferrary, both Democrats from Las Cruces.

Rep. Rubio says she’s a champion of wage issues, and it was last week when she and Rep. Ferrary stumbled across the New Mexico 1978 statute on workers with disabilities.

As the law reads now, people who are “impaired” by physical or mental deficiency can be paid below minimum wage. However, they can’t be paid less than half of the minimum wage.

“We felt that this was a bit archaic, because we believe also in human rights. We felt that this was a good opportunity to being having that conversation and see where we can move forward with this,” Rep. Rubio said.

Rep. Rubio says this is 2017 and that it’s time to catch up and giver everyone a livable wage.

It’s the first time lawmakers have tried to repeal this specific statute.

The state’s minimum wage is $7.50 an hour. Cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe have an even higher minimum wage.

This bill was just introduced. Lawmakers only have a few more days to introduce bills we approach the halfway point of this 60 day session.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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