Created: 03/15/2013 3:11 PM
By: The Associated Press
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A proposal to increase the state minimum wage to $8.50 an hour is close to clearing the Legislature but faces trouble if it reaches Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
The House approved the bill Friday on 37-32 vote, sending it back to the Senate.
The state minimum wage went to $7.50 an hour in 2009.
Supporters said the proposed increase would help workers and their families with rising costs of food and other essentials.
Opponents warned that the wage increase would hurt businesses and could cause them to reduce jobs.
Only three states - Washington, Oregon and Vermont - have minimum wages higher than $8.50 an hour.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
A Martinez spokesman says the governor opposes increasing the rate to $8.50 but would accept $7.80.
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