- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A bill that would fund the Legislature’s 60-day session has cleared its first hurdle.

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee approved the measure Tuesday to provide nearly $9.4 million for session costs. That includes salaries for staff and expenses for legislators. Legislators don’t receive an annual salary but are reimbursed for expenses.

Last year, legislators approved a $5.4 million measure but the session was only 30 days.

House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, said there was an increase in costs this year because of a spike in temporary employees who claim unemployment when the session ends.

The measure traditionally is the first piece of legislation approved during annual legislative sessions. It is known as a “feed bill” and will go before the full House of Representatives next.

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