Paid medical leave bill passes Senate, heads to House

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SANTA FE, N.M. — At the Roundhouse this weekend, state senators spent several hours picking apart and amending the Paid Family & Medical Leave Act.

Senate Bill 11 wants to follow nearly a dozen other states in creating a state-run family and medical leave program.

The main sticking point for the proposal is who’s footing the bill. Workers and employers would be required to contribute a few dollars for every $1,000 in wages into a state fund to pay those workers on leave.

Senate Republicans argued that the mechanism unfairly targets small, local businesses.

“I think the message that we’re sending is that we have some kind of weird disdain for small New Mexico businesses,” said Sen. William Sharer of Farmington. “‘Cause certainly, the big Walmart, it’s the big Wells Fargo banks, the big multi-state businesses, you know, they’re OK, they can do this anyway – but this really goes after the little businesses.”

Despite hours of pushback, the proposal cleared the Senate floor on a largely party-line vote. Two Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with Republicans against it.

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Track SB 11 during the legislative session.