HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS RELEASE
The House Education Committee passed three bills today that would expand access to quality education for students across New Mexico. These bills aim to reduce the inequities identified by the 2018 New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit that found the state failed to comply with state and federal laws regarding the education of Native American, low-income, and English Language Learner (ELL) students.
“Quality education for our kids is key to their success as adults and to the future of our state. We absolutely cannot afford to fail our Native American and Hispanic students,” said Representative Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo), who sponsored all three bills. “We must commit to fully funding these schools and giving our students a chance to succeed.”
HB 87, which would expand funding for Native schools and students and require that a minimum of 70 percent of distributions from the Indian Education Fund (IEF) be made to tribal governments, passed along party lines, with a vote of 9-3.
HB 88, which appropriates funding from the general fund to the IEF to build capacity, expand tribal library operations, provide extended learning, and support Native language programs, received bipartisan support, with a vote of 10-2.
HB 90, which appropriates funding to four state colleges and three tribal colleges to improve teacher recruitment and training, passed the committee with an 8-4 vote.
The Roundhouse is open to the public for the session. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required to enter the building. Members of the public can view floor sessions and committee meetings on the New Mexico legislature’s Webcasts tab, and provide comment via phone or Zoom as directed on the daily schedule.