Over the weekend the New Mexico Legislature completed a 60-day session, and I am extremely proud of its accomplishments for the people of our state. Meeting during an extraordinary and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we didn’t know if it would be possible to start or complete this legislative session safely – but we did.
For me, some top highlights included crafting a solid budget for the state that invests in our residents and their future, while protecting our key priorities. The good news is that New Mexico is rebounding from COVID-19 with a healthy economy despite the past year’s many challenges. Strong revenues and federal help enabled us to avoid cuts; improve state services and programs, and maintain healthy financial reserves to protect against any future downturn.
- The Legislature passed hazard pay for essential workers on the front line during this pandemic – $600 rebates for New Mexico workers making less than $15 an hour – and more support for small businesses.
- A historic, major investment in early childhood and K-12 education for the next generation of New Mexicans by drawing on the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund. As a senator and as Lt. Governor, I have fought for this needed measure. The voters will now get to decide the question directly in the 2022 general election.
- Transformational changes for more broadband connectivity for New Mexico’s communities.
- The formation of an independent redistricting commission to redraw election district boundaries for our congressional and legislative seats fairly.
- A state capital outlay package that ensures a strong infusion of public dollars for dozens of needed infrastructure and other public projects, and a measure that finally makes the capital outlay process itself transparent for the public.
- New funding that invests in afterschool and out-of-school-time programs for children across the state to ensure they are safe and supervised after the school day ends.
- Continued, responsible and commonsense protections of New Mexico’s environment.
I look forward to the coming two weeks when we will hold a special legislative session to address the pivotal issue of legalizing recreational cannabis. We will have the opportunity to take the time and the care to pass legislation that is right for New Mexico, while avoiding the pitfalls of states that rushed through the process.