SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation Monday raising the state’s minimum wage for the first time in a decade from $7.50 an hour to $12 by 2023. The first increase to $9 an hour goes into effect at the start of 2020.
Union activists and advocates for low-wage workers celebrated the new law with cheers and live mariachi music outside the governor’s office.
Local governments including Santa Fe, Las Cruces and the county encompassing Albuquerque already have higher minimum wage requirements than the state.
Democratic House and Senate sponsors of the legislation say it will help children while allowing rural businesses time to adjust.
Lujan Grisham campaigned for governor last year on establishing an hourly $12 minimum wage. Former Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed two bills in 2017 that would have raised minimum hourly wages to $9 or $9.25.
Approval of the initiative followed more than a month of negotiations between rival Democratic factions in the Senate and House.
Initial proposals to tie future wage increases automatically to inflation were stripped from final legislation.
Minimum pay for tipped workers such as restaurant servers would increase from $2.13 an hour $3 an hour by 2023. By law employers must ensure those workers receive the full minimum wage after tips, while some lawmakers say the system is prone to abuse.
A second-tier minimum wage for high school students 18 years or younger is set at $8.50 next year without scheduled increases.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.