NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A new bill moving through the roundhouse is pushing for an increase in pay for jury duty. Under Senate Bill 170, jurors would be compensated 150% of either the federal or state minimum wage; whichever is more.

The minimum wage in New Mexico is currently $12 an hour. This means jurors would get $18 an hour while on jury duty. Senate Bill 170 would provide an increase in pay for New Mexican jurors, as they are currently paid only the $12 minimum wage rate.

The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Bill Soules of Las Cruces, thinks the pay increase might make jury duty a little more enticing. “As we all know, a strong judiciary is part of an important part of a strong democracy. What this does is, and people who have been in court know, a lot of times people try to get out of jury duty; and partly there is a financial hardship when all we do is pay minimum wage,” says Soules.

The bill passed the Senate Finance Committee on Monday morning, Mar. 13.