Los Alamos Federation of School Employees executive council members met with Rep. Christine Chandler Monday at the Roundhouse. Pictured are, from left, Stacey Martens, Christine Engelbrecht, Chandler and Trey Pereyra. Photo Courtesy AFT New Mexico
BY WHITNEY HOLLAND
AFT New Mexico
Monday was a busy day at the Roundhouse for three pieces of legislation that our union is supporting, and we are happy to report that all three bills advanced: HB 127 now heads to the full House of Representatives, HB 236 cleared its first committee and heads to House Judiciary, and HB 181 now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Over the last two legislative days, we were happy to host two AFT NM locals who joined us at the Roundhouse to lobby their elected Representatives and Senators. On Saturday, February 18, we hosted educators from McKinley County Federation of United School Employees (McFUSE) and educators from the Los Alamos Federation of School Employees (LAFSE) were with us today. Thanks for spending your time advocating for our profession!
House Health and Human Services Committee
House Bill 236, led by Rep. Eleanor Chavez and co-sponsored by Reps. Borrego, Castellano, Gurrola, Roybal Caballero, Rubio, and Sen. McKenna, would initiate a process for New Mexico to establish safe staffing parameters in our hospitals.
HB 236 is important as it would boost patient care levels by lessening the case loads of nurses and other healthcare professionals, and it would also help to lessen the burnout experienced by our healthcare workers.
AFT New Mexico is partnering with NUHHCE District 1199NM to promote and advocate for this legislation. HB 236 was presented Friday morning (2/17) in the House Health Committee and public comment was taken. This morning, a final vote was taken, and HB 236 advanced with unanimous support from committee members present. HB 236 now heads to the House Judiciary Committee.
House of Representatives
HB 181, carried by Reps. Joanne Ferrary, Debbie Sariñana, Christine Trujillo, and Sen. Bill Soules, was advanced by a vote of 66-2 this morning by the members of the House of Representatives.
The legislation seeks to expand the definition and eligibility of Nationally Board-Certified Teachers to receive a differential for their certification. If enacted, HB 181 would extend differential eligibility to NBCT counselors and administrators with a current certification.
AFT NM strongly supports this legislation, as we have for multiple years. We want to thank Reps. Joanne Ferrary, Debbie Sariñana, and Andres Romero for their support of NBCT educators and HB 181.
House Appropriations and Finance Committee
House Bill 127 is an effort to raise the minimum wage for educational assistants/instructional assistants and their role group to $25,000/year. It is sponsored by Reps. Susan Herrera, Brian Baca, Willie Madrid, Debbie Sariñana, Christine Trujillo, Patricia Roybal Caballero, Luis Terrazas, Liz Thomson, and Senators Mimi Stewart and Linda Lopez.
As we reported last week, our union was able to secure funding in House Bill 2 (the FY ’24 budget) to fund these minimums, and the entire House of Representatives adopted those budgetary recommendations before sending House Bill 2 to the Senate.
Members of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee voted 14-0 this afternoon the send HB 127 to the full House of Representatives for final passage. Even though the funds for HB 127 are in the current version of the budget, advancing HB 127 is necessary so these newly won minimums are permanently in statute.
Please share this update with your networks and continue to stay engaged with us throughout this session.