New Mexico's Progressive Headquarters

High Drama ends Minimum Wage vote in House

New Mexico’s House of Representatives took up debate this afternoon on a popular Constitutional amendment to raise and index New Mexico’s minimum wage. The final measure dies on the house 33-29 with 6 members walking away to avoid voting.

The final vote 33-29:

  • Democrat Donna Irwin broke with Democrats and voted NO

These members walked (left the floor to avoid a vote):

  • Baldonado
  • Fajardo
  • Gallegos, D.M.
  • Hamilton
  • Jeff
  • Tripp

Two members were excused, having been absent for medical reasons all session:

  • Archuleta
  • Chavez


New Mexico’s Senate passed the bill late last week after several wavering Democrats agreed to vote in the majority to pass the bill.  Under New Mexico law, Constitutional amendments must pass each house by a majority of those elected, unlike other bills which require a majority of those present.   Constitutional amendments then go to voters in the next election, bypassing the governor.

Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a minimum wage hike passed by both chambers last year.

Some twitter highlights from today’s vote:

Rep. Bill McCamley (D-37, Dona Ana) led off debate:


Rep. Moe Maestas (D, Bernalillo)

@RepMoe: Minimum wage proposal best handled with constitutional amendment to take it out of politicians’ hands. #nmleg

— Susan M. Bryan (@susanmbryanNM) February 19, 2014

And as that was happening, this breaking news:

And a few more:

And the vote:

Finally, this drama surrounding Rep. Sandra Jeff’s conversation with Vice President Joe Biden:

Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint, was even the target of a phone call by Vice President Biden, urging the maverick Democrat to vote for the resolution.

A White House official told Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican that Biden spoke to Jeff but the representative told New Mexico Watchdog she did not speak to Biden.

“I would have loved to hear from him but I didn’t get his phone call,” Jeff said, because she said she was working on a gaming compact agreement with the Navajo Nation that failed in the Senate Wednesday. Jeff was absent for the minimum wage vote.

Update 10:32 p.m.: In a text message to New Mexico Watchdog, Jeff said did indeed speak to Biden on Wednesday. “I did receive a call from Vice President Joe Biden urging me to support the minimum wage increase/Constitutional amendment,” Jeff wrote, “but I did not wish to disclose that call out of respect for the Vice President. However, since the White House disclosed the call, I will confirm it. I explained to him that I support raising the minimum wage and I have voted do so in the past, but believe it should be done in a bill, not as a constitutional amendment. Gov. Martinez expressed a willingness to support a minimum wage increase compromise and I wish we would have taken advantage of that opportunity instead of letting partisan politics overtake the issue.”

The Obama administration has called for raising the national minimum wage to $10.10 and has made raising the wage on a state-by-state basis a political priority. The minimum wage in New Mexico is currently at $7.50 an hour.

-NM Watchdog (

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4 comments on “High Drama ends Minimum Wage vote in House

  1. Emanuele Corso, PhD
    February 19, 2014

    Vote them out office. That is our power as voters. They have betrayed their constituency and the betrayal has to be avenged at the ballot box. You can also see my post on the Skandera betrayal at . This legislature is not serving the people – let’s get rid of them and end the business as usual mentality.

  2. hidrologo
    February 20, 2014

    When your republican minimum wage earning buddies complain that they aren’t earning enough to get by, remind them that they elected these politicians

  3. A. Jordan
    February 20, 2014

    So I guess she is saying that her LIE about the phone call was JUSTIFIED!! Typical politician of bad character!! I don’t think Biden would be offended by the world knowing that he makes phone calls to other politicians. It is kinda his job!! The habit of lying does become habitual…or perpetual… Why didn’t she just say that she didn’t want to disclose whether she spoke to Biden or not. Accomplished the same thing but happens to be the truth!!

  4. Pingback: What happens when House Republicans skip out on 500+ votes in one NMLEG session? | PROGRESSNOW NM

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on February 19, 2014 by in Elections 2014, Minimum Wage, NMLEG 2014 and tagged , , , , , .

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