Legislature: Landmark Investment In Early Childhood Education Headed To Public Vote


The result of years of hard work by dozens of legislators and advocates, a transformative investment providing millions in sustained funding and support for New Mexico’s early childhood education programs will now go to a public vote, after the House concurred today with amendments made in the Senate. 

Led by Reps. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque), Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Albuquerque), and Georgene Louis (D-Albuquerque), and Senator Pete Campos (D-Las Vegas), House Joint Resolution 1: Permanent Fund for Early Childhood Education is a constitutional amendment to transform and expand early childhood education programs across the state through a 1.25% funding distribution from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund, currently valued at nearly $22 billion. The legislation holds broad support from a total of 32 sponsors across the House and Senate.

The Senate’s amendment raised annual distributions from the Fund from 1% to 1.25%. Previous versions of HJR 1 directed all of the funding to early childhood education programs. Now, with an increased distribution from the fund, .5% of the funding will go to K-12 education, and .75% to early childhood education programming.

“There is no better, smarter investment we can make for our state than to invest in our kids from Day One,” said Rep. Maestas. “The robust early childhood system that New Mexico will now get to build thanks to HJR1 will become the envy of every state in the nation, and will allow our state to shape and control our destiny for generations to come.”

“After 10 years of hard work by so many, today’s final passage of HJR 1 is a landmark victory for the children of New Mexico,” said Rep. Martínez. “I am incredibly proud of this legislature for recognizing the value of investing in our youngest, and overjoyed that this long-held dream will finally become a reality for our children and our state.” 

“We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our lead sponsors Reps. Maestas and Martínez and the countless advocates who never stopped fighting for New Mexico’s children,” said. Rep. Thomson. “The state has owed this to our babies, toddlers, and their families for years, and I could not be happier that the day is finally here.” 

“HJR 1 will not only transform the services and support available to New Mexico’s youngest and their parents, but it will transform our state by equipping our children with the solid foundation they need to rise out of poverty, build successful lives, and move New Mexico forward,” said Rep. Louis. “I am so proud to be a sponsor of this legislation, and that the hard work of so many is finally coming to fruition to the benefit of our children and communities.” 

HJR 1 is supported by CHI St. Joseph’s Children, NM Voices for Children, OLÉ, Partnership for Community Action, Center for Civic Policy, NM Association for the Education of Young Children, NM Center of Law and Poverty, Save the Children Action Network, ProgressNow NM, the Youth Development Institute, La Semilla, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry NM, NM Conference of Churches, NM Working Families Party, NM Asian Family Center, and Southwest Organizing Project, among others. 

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.