THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this week signed into law three initiatives that will improve the quality of life for military families and veterans as they move to New Mexico.
Each of the three bills – House Bill 120, Senate Bill 271 and Senate Bill 272 – were passed unanimously by both chambers.
“New Mexico recognizes the stress and challenges a military family faces due to frequent relocations” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “We are fully committed to supporting our military installations and the families who serve.”
House Bill 120 improves on the benefits of House Bill 30 passed last session by adding critical occupations such as accounting and architects and expanding others like nursing and teaching. It also reduced the processing time requirement from 60 to 30 days and eliminated the requirement for a military spouse to produce burdensome documentation beyond a home license.
“An amazing team worked tirelessly throughout the interim to get this piece of legislation together and make sure our military service members and their families feel welcome” said Rep. Eliseo Alcon. “Together with last year’s HB30 we are doing what is needed for our military and veterans in New Mexico.”
“This legislation opens the door for military families and all veterans who live in New Mexico to have the opportunity to earn a living in the professional industries that they are trained and qualified to work,” said Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Linda M. Trujillo.
Senate Bill 271 establishes Purple Star Schools, a nationally recognized program, in New Mexico. Purple Star Schools provide mentoring and inclusion programs for military-connected students and professional development for school staff and teachers on the challenges these students face with each move. Schools that meet program requirements can be designated a Purple Star School.
“As an educator and school psychologist, I know that school transitions can be tough on kids and families,” said Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill. “When schools take steps to welcome and recognize the special needs of military families, kids will feel more supported and have better learning and social experiences. The Purple Star School designation is a wonderful way to honor our military families and help mitigate some of the stresses and obstacles our military families face during their time in service to our country.”
Senate Bill 272 allows military families who are on orders to move to New Mexico but have not yet arrived to enroll their children, register for classes, and apply for specialized programs during the normal registration period. This legislation will promote a smooth transition for the nearly 8,500 military-connected school-age children in New Mexico.
“SB 271 and SB272 will do so much in helping our military families and students overcome the challenges of school transitions during military moves,” said Sen. Harold Pope, Jr. “A child of a military family may move six to nine times during a career creating difficulties in the transferring of records, state differences in education, graduation requirements, and enrollment barriers in sports, electives and extracurricular activities. Our state honors the sacrifices of our military families and will continue to do more to support them.”