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Posted January 24, 2012

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Update from New Mexico 2012 Legislative Session: Day 7

Hello from Santa Fe! The APS Government Affairs Team has been hard at work in the Roundhouse for the past few days. Here's an update!

Public School Budgets

Just like all other decisions in the session, the budget is a piece of legislation. The state budget is written in House Bill 2 - The General Appropriation Act. In order to create the budget, different committees in the House of Representatives all work on a portion of the budget. For example, the House Transportation Committee works on the transportation portion of the budget. The public school budget is no different.

The first several days of meetings of the House Education Committee are consumed with discussions about public school support from the state. The public school budget is then written into House Bill 3. The House Education Committee votes to approve House Bill 3 and then that bill is sent to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee to be integrated into the overall state budget. After all those small portions of the budget are combined into House Bill 2, the House Appropriations and Finance Committee votes to approve it and sends it to the floor of the House of Representatives. It's only after the entire House of Representatives votes on the budget that it can move to the Senate for debate and approval.

If you think that sounds like a long process...you're right! Actually, it's about a 30-day process! That just happens to work out, because this is a 30-day session.

Now that you know the background, we are pleased to tell you that House Bill 3 was voted on today in the House Education Committee, approved and sent to House Appropriations and Finance. House Bill 3 has many more stops along the way and a lot could still change, but the first step looks positive. To read more about House Bill 3, please track it on the legislative website at http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_locatorcom.aspx?year=12

School Police

The fourth item on the APS Legislative Agenda is off and running! The ability for a school district to establish an independent police department was introduced in Senate Bill 82. Important parts of this bill are:

  • Creation of a police department by a district is completely optional, not mandatory in any way.
  • If a school district created a police department, the police officers that work for the district would be required to undergo ongoing, specialized training in how to interact with children and adolescents in schools.
  • If a school district created a police department, it would have to report annually to the Legislature about its policies and procedures and how the school police protect their students.

To read more about the school police bill, please track it on the legislative website at http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_locatorcom.aspx?year=12

We are still waiting to see if the Governor will grant permission for it to be discussed so more on that later!

Other Important Education Bills

There are always several education bills in any one session. There are a few (and more to come) that we think will get the most attention:

  • HB53 - Limiting Grade Retentions through Interventions (Rep. Rick Miera)
  • HB54 - Limiting Grade Retentions through Interventions (Rep. Mary Helen Garcia)
  • HB69 - Social Promotion, Retention and Remediation (Rep. Mary Helen Garcia)
  • HJR2 - Land Grant Fund Annual Distribution (Rep. Jim Trujillo)
  • SB50 - Limit Grade Retentions through Interventions (Sen. Linda Lopez)
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