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      Higher minimum wage in N.M. pending

      SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A proposal to increase New Mexico's minimum wage by $1 an hour is moving ahead in the Legislature.

      A Senate-passed bill to raise the hourly wage rate to $8.50 is pending in the House.

      The measure cleared the House Labor and Human Resources Committee on a 5-3 vote Saturday, which sent it to the 70-member House for consideration.

      The minimum wage has been $7.50 an hour since 2009.

      The House panel revised the proposal to exempt businesses from the higher wage if they have fewer than three workers. The Senate-passed measure wouldn't apply to businesses with fewer than 11 workers.

      The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Employers must pay the higher rate when there is a difference between the federal wage and state or local requirements.

      (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)