A green ink weathered roughed up circle and stars stamp design with the words MINIMUM WAGE on it making a great concept.UPDATE: HB 211 passed the Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee last week and has now moved to the Business and Employment Committee for consideration. The New Mexico legislature has a very short legislative session, so time is of the essence in moving this important legislation!

NMRA’s number one priority this year is a preemption bill that would keep cities and counties from making employment law. Think about the ramifications if Albuquerque or Las Cruces couldn’t pass a minimum wage bill. Did you know that we, NMRA, negotiated a wage preemption in the last minimum wage bill that was passed at the state level? Unfortunately the preemption sunsetted in 2008 and that’s the year the minimum wage ballot initiative showed up in Albuquerque.

AN ACT RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT; PREEMPTING LOCAL LAWS, POLICIES AND RESOLUTIONS FROM REGULATING TERMS OF PRIVATE-SECTOR EMPLOYMENT. (Bill # to follow). We have two spectacular bill sponsors: Senator Mark Moores and Representative Jason Harper. We thank them for their willingness to work on this important bill.

This legislative priority is a law that would keep employment practices at the state and federal level. The law is called a preemption because it requires the state government laws preempt or take precedence over city or county  laws.

Some local mandates make sense, like building codes and environmental regulations, because there are unique local characteristics that need to be considered. Employment law including: mandatory paid leave, 21-day scheduling, higher wages, compensation for changed shifts, retention pay and mandatory 40 hour work week are not unique or local and, in fact, create an un-level playing field and confusion between towns and cities that could hurt job growth.

Businesses are already subject to state and federal employment laws and audits. Municipalities creating employment laws would have to create additional enforcement and auditing capabilities thus creating an additional burden on businesses and employees. It makes sense to have this authority vested with the state or federal government. This also maintains a level playing field across political subdivisions and removes confusion for businesses operating in multiple locations around the state.

State regulatory environments have a significant impact on the business and economic competitiveness in each state.  Local mandates on private employers have the ability to deter business growth and development on a state-wide level. For the economic health of the state, local governments can no longer be allowed to act independently and without input from the State Legislature on employment issues.

We have seen these laws, so far, in the form of minimum wages, tear apart local communities. Ask the Las Cruces City Council or the businesses in Albuquerque struggling to comply with a ballot initiative that placed additional burdens on their business.

Please call and talk to your legislator about the importance of passing this legislation in this session!


At your service,

Carol Wight