Legislature: Bill Looking To Develop State’s Rural And Tribal Elder Care Workforce Passes House


Today, legislation that begins the process of developing a New Mexican workforce to support elder independence and care unanimously passed the House of Representatives.

Sponsored by Representatives Derrick Lente (D – Sandia Pueblo) and Jack Chatfield (R – Mosquero), the bipartisan HB 256 requires the Aging and Long Term Services Department (ALTSD) to convene a task force to determine the feasibility of launching workforce development initiatives to train workers in the field of elder care. Currently, many of the state’s tribal and rural communities lack a sufficient and qualified workforce to care for their aging adult populations. 

“Unlike the state’s urban centers, our rural and tribal communities lack the services and workforce necessary to sufficiently support our elders,” said Rep. Lente. “With this legislation, we’re bringing together the expertise we need to address this care gap and in the process, develop this critical workforce so many of our rural and tribal communities need.”

The task force would consist of several cabinet secretaries or designees, and organizations that include: Secretary of Health, Secretary of Higher Education, Secretary of Human Services, Secretary of Indian Affairs, Secretary of Public Education, Secretary of Workforce Solutions, President of Central New Mexico Community College, President of the New Mexico Association of Community Colleges, President of Eastern New Mexico University, one representative of the National Indian Council on Aging, one representative of the Apache tribes, one representative of the Navajo Nation, one representative of the nineteen pueblos of New Mexico, three tribal leader representatives, one representative of a tribally-owned or operated long-term care facility, one representative from tribal health care, one representative of a non-metro area agency on aging, one representative of a rural New Mexico association of counties, one representative of the New Mexico Municipal League, one representative of the rural New Mexico hospital network, one representative of the New Mexico Association for Home and Hospice Care, and one representative of AARP New Mexico. 

House Bill 256 passed the House with a vote of 65-0. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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.