SANTA FE (AP) — A New Mexico House committee Friday voted to approve a revamped right-to-work bill that tacks on an increase in the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8 an hour.
After some heated exchanges in a six-hour session, the House Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 along party lines to approve the Republican-sponsored revised bill that prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment.
The revised bill now moves to a vote of the full House of Representatives.
Missouri lawmakers this week took a step toward joining 24 other states with right-to-work laws when its House voted to bar the collection of fees from workers who choose not to join a union. But the measure still faces an uphill climb to become law there.
Opponents of the New Mexico legislation, who have far outnumbered proponents at hearings, have said the bill hurts workers by lowering wages and allows big business to bully them.
Builders, business associations and chambers of commerce leaders have supported the measure saying it will increase employment. Labor and education union leaders and members have characterized the right-to-work legislation as misguided and misnamed.
More than two dozen people spoke against the bill Friday. One spoke in favor calling the wage increase "reasonable."