Legislative Updates- 2019 Session

February 12, 2019
The 54th session of the legislature is focusing on education. Both the Governor's budget and the LFC budget recommendations include an 18% recommended increase in state funding for education, which means an additional $500 million for education. Both budgets suggest increases in salary for all educational professionals. The session commenced with the Martinez/Yazzie vs New Mexico (July 2018) decision in the background, which determined that the state has not been sufficiently funding education, particularly for at risk students. It also began with projected increases in revenue from oil and gas. The legislative activity demonstrates a commitment and urgency to education and our students of New Mexico.

The most comprehensive bills for outlining new funding right now are Senate Bill 1 and the current counterpart, House Bill 5. Every educator should consider reviewing those bills. These bills are not the only bills to shape educational policy changes or funding, but they are a significant focus of conversation for lawmakers.In total, about 900 bills have been introduced, with about 25% of those related to education.

Within and outside of Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 5, the early topics of focus include early childhood education, career readiness/ career technical education, school security and social services, and salary increases for educational employees.

The Governor signed 42 bills on February 4. As a group this was referred to as the “rocket docket” because they were bills with support from both House and Senate in the last few sessions, but vetoed by the previous governor. Among those 42 was House Bill 227, sponsored by Representative Harper, which eliminated the use of sick leave from a teacher’s evaluation. Moving through committees now are bills about changes in the school accountability reporting, teacher evaluation, and instructional materials. Albuquerque Public Schools, like all school districts in New Mexico are hopeful about the legislation that will come out of this legislative session.

Please feel free to reach out to our Policy Analyst/Government Affairs Liaison, Heather Dahl, heather.dahl@aps.edu for more information or updates during the Legislative Session.