The big news in the Roundhouse yesterday had nothing to do with specific legislation, but an announcement from the Department of Education that schools should reopen for in-person learning by April 5th. This comes on the heels of another announcement by the Department of Health that all educators and school support staff should be able to get at least the first round of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March. Students and parents would still be able to choose to finish out the year virtually, but bottom line, any student that wants to head back to the classroom will soon be able to.
Other items we discuss in today’s Your NM Gov Update:
House Bill 20 – Paid Sick Leave for all New Mexico Workers. This has now passed out of the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee, but only after its official start date was changed to July of 2022. This bill now heads to one las committee assignment in Taxation, Business and Transportation.
Senate Joint Resolution 22 – This measure would allow for the possibility of ranked choice voting in state elections. It stalled, though, in Senate Rules, although supporters say they are optimistic it might be revived before the session ends. Given how much work there is left to do in not a lot of time, that may be just wishful thinking, though.
Senate Bill 94 – This bill would allow student athletes at New Mexico colleges and universities to earn money or other compensation from the use of their name, image or likeness. It is now headed to the full House for a vote. If approved, it will be on to the Governor’s desk for her signature.
All eyes today will be on the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation committee, as members hear about the latest attempts to legalize recreational-use cannabis. There are at least three competing proposals out there, although the House has already approved HB 12 nearly two weeks ago. This discussion was originally scheduled for Saturday, but Committee Chairman Benny Shendo pushed it back to today so the authors of the remaining bills could try to come to consensus on one measure moving forward. That hearing will start about 1:30pm today and you can follow along on the webcast by heading to the New Mexico PBS homepage.
We also mentioned this morning an online petition surrounding efforts to reform the process of redistricting in New Mexico. A compromise bill (SB 15) is making its way through the Roundhouse, but opponents think there are still big concerns about the transparency and fairness of this measure.
Let us know what bills or issues you are following as the session heads into the final days of the 2021 session.
Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage comes from the New Mexico Local News Fund, the Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners like you, with support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation.