Panel Shelves Legislative Paycheck Restriction

Santa Fe, New Mexico – SANTA FE, N.M. (KRWG) Lawmakers have shelved a proposal to require teachers and other public workers to take unpaid leave or annual leave from their jobs if they serve in the Legislature.

Several educators are in the Legislature and the Republican-backed measure would have stopped them from collecting their taxpayer-financed salaries as well as a $154 daily expense reimbursement that goes to legislators.

The bill failed Tuesday on a 7-6 party-line vote in the House Voters and Elections Committee. Democrats opposed the measure, saying it was unfair to public employees. Lawmakers aren't paid a yearly salary.

Rep. Nora Espinoza, a Roswell Republican, testified in favor of the bill, saying she quit her job at the New Mexico Military Institute to avoid any potential conflicts of interest while serving in the Legislature.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. KRWG