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NM House panel OKs minimum wage adjustments

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- A House panel has approved a proposal for increasing New Mexico's minimum wage for inflation each year.

The measure cleared the Labor and Human Resources Committee on a party-line 5-4 vote on Tuesday. Republicans opposed the proposal and Democrats supported it.

The state's $7.50 an hour minimum wage has been in effect since 2009.

The proposed constitutional amendment by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, would allow voters to decide whether to require automatic cost-of-living increases in the wage rate.

Business groups opposed the measure, which heads to another House committee for consideration.

The proposal would be placed on the 2014 general election ballot if it's approved by the Democratic-controlled House and Senate. A proposed constitutional amendment doesn't require the signature of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.