HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
The New Mexico House of Representatives on Thursday unanimously passed legislation prohibiting schools’ discrimination or discipline of students based on their use of natural or protective hairstyles, or wearing of cultural or religious headdresses.
Similar to the CROWN Act passed in six other states, House Bill 29: No School Discrimination for Hair is sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque).
In addition to protecting the rights of New Mexican students, the bill also amends the state’s Human Rights Act to include “cultural headdresses” and “protective hairstyles” in the general ban on discrimination based on race.
“No student should ever face hate or discipline at school because of their natural hair or headdresses, especially not in a majority-minority state,” said Leader Stapleton. “House Bill 29 ensures that students in public schools are treated equitably and are not subjected to policies and procedures that discriminate based on their race or ethnicity.”
“It’s unacceptable that individual choices on how students wear their hair, including expressions of cultural and religious traditions, should be a cause for discrimination,” said Rep. Roybal Caballero. “House Bill 29 rights this wrong in New Mexico, and lets our students proudly share their cultural and natural traditions and expressions at school.”
House Bill 29 passed the House floor with a 65-0 vote and will be heard next in the Senate.
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.