February 7th: First News: Senate Panel Tables Minimum-Wage Increase (Listen)
The Senate Public Affairs Committee has tabled a proposal to raise New Mexico's minimum wage by 50 cents an hour. Most of the panel's Democrats said the proposed increase wasn't enough to adequately help workers. New Mexico’s minimum wage has been seven-dollars, 50-cents an hour for five years. The proposal would have increased the rate to eight-dollars an hour. However, another wage proposal backed by many Democrats is pending in the Senate. If approved by lawmakers, and later by New Mexico voters, it would change the state constitution to annually increase the minimum wage for inflation and start by boosting the rate to eight-dollars-30-cents an hour.
A state budget proposal to increase spending on public education and state government programs by 280 million-dollars next year is heading to the House for consideration. The Appropriations and Finance Committee approved the budget bill yesterday on a 10-7 party-line vote. Republicans opposed the measure, saying it lacks money for too many of Governor Susana Martinez's education initiatives, and shrinks the state's cash reserves. The proposed budget would allocate more than six-billion dollars for schools, colleges and programs ranging from prisons to health care in the fiscal year that starts in July.
Teachers from Santa Fe and northern New Mexico took advantage of an effort through Public Service Company of New Mexico and the National Energy Education Development Project, for curriculum training on renewable energy. Lisa Randall, the energy and education program manager at the Santa Fe Public Schools says curriculum trainings such as Thursday’s often re-ignites teacher excitement. *****020614-Randall-1 :23***** PNM and the NEED program also held a similar workshop earlier this week in Albuquerque for teachers in the Duke City.
A proposal to ban electronic cigarettes for minors has cleared an early hurdle in the Legislature. The Senate Public Affairs unanimously approved a proposal yesterday to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18. The proposed restrictions are similar to prohibitions on minors buying cigarettes made of tobacco. More than 20 states ban e-cigarette sales to minors. The bill now goes to another Senate committee. A similar proposal is pending in the House.
Santa Fe Weather: Today: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36 and a A 20 percent chance of snow. Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 45