The 2023 New Mexico Legislative Session came to an end with 18 education bills becoming law. These bills aim to change the future of education by increasing student achievement through new initiatives, making breakfast and lunch free for all students, and increasing pay for school staff.
For a bill to become law in the state of New Mexico, it must begin in either the state House of Representatives or the state Senate, go through its assigned committee hearings, and then pass a vote of the full chamber. It will then repeat the process in the other chamber. If a bill is successful in both chambers, it will then go to the governor for a signature. The governor can either sign the bill or veto it. In this story, NM Education will explore the education bills signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The following 18 bills became law:
House Bill 127, Education Assistant Salary Increase, requires all school districts to increase the minimum salary for licensed education assistants in their district to at least $25,000. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Susan Herrera (D – Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Taos).
House Bill 130, K-12 Plus Program, increases the number of instructional hours for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Each school district will have the ability to implement these new hours by adding days, extending the school day, or a mix of both. best. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Joy Garratt (D – Bernalillo).
House Bill 134, Menstrual Products in School Bathrooms, requires menstrual products to be provided in school bathrooms. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Christine Trujillo (D – Bernalillo).
House Bill 181, National Board Certified Program Units, extends differential eligibility of National Board Certified Teachers to counselors and administrators with a current certification. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Debra Sarinana (D – Bernalillo).
House Bill 199, Increase School At-Risk Index, increases the at-risk index and the fine arts factor in the school funding formula. The bill also increases the responsibility factors for principals and assistant principals which results in higher pay school administrators. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Brian Baca (R – Valencia).
House Bill 342, Education Savings Plan Uses, aligns New Mexico’s uses of Education Savings Plans provided for in the Education Trust Act to comply with federally allowable uses of the savings. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ryan Lane (R – San Juan).
House Bill 401, Rename Technology for Education Act, renamed the Technology for Education Act as the Digital Equity in Education Act. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Brian Baca (R – Valencia).
House Bill 481, Align School Reading Materials, incentivizes school districts to align their literacy curriculum aligned to structured literacy. . The bill was sponsored by Lane (R – San Juan).
House Bill 533, School Group Insurance Contributions, requires districts to pay at least 80 percent of the health insurance premium for employees earning less than $50,000, at least 70 percent of the premium for those earning between $50,000 and $60,000, and 60 percent of the premium for those earning $60,000 thousand or more. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Raymundo Lara (D – Doña Ana).
Senate Bill 4, Healthy Universal School Meals, will allow all students in New Mexico to have free breakfast and lunch regardless of their socio-economic status. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Michael Padilla (D – Bernalillo).
Senate Bill 120, Open Enrollment for Military Children provides open enrollment flexibility for children of military families across the state. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Harold Pope (D – Bernalillo).
Senate Bill 131, Public School Funding Changes makes changes to the Public School Capital Outlay Act to improve school districts’ access to public school capital outlay funding. The bill also makes technical clean-up changes to simplify the Public School Capital Outlay Act. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart (D – Bernalillo).
Senate Bill 307, Licensed Teacher Prep Affordability, expands eligibility in the Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship program to allow licensed teachers seeking graduate degrees to participate by eliminating a requirement that students must be enrolled half-time to qualify for a scholarship. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart (D – Bernalillo).
Senate Bill 383, Public Ed. Background Check Process, calls on schools to improve the process for conducting required criminal history record checks and requires confidentiality of school staff. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart (D – Bernalillo).
Senate Bill 397, School-Based Health Center, mandates a change to the Public Health Act that calls on schools to create and operate school-based health centers. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Nancy Rodriguez (D – Santa Fe).
Senate Bill 417, Teacher Vocational Ed Licensure Track, will create a Vocational Education licensure track for teachers, allowing tradesmen to more easily access teacher certification to teach CTE courses. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Craig Brandt (R – Sandoval).
Senate Bill 450, School Coach CPR and AED Training, requires athletics coaches employed by school districts to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and trained in the use of automated defibrillators. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R – Chavez, Eddy, Otero).
Senate Bill 474, School District In-Lieu-Of-Taxes Payments, addresses how certain payment-in-lieu-of-taxes payments are distributed among school districts. This bill was sponsored by Sen. Benny Shendo, Jr. (D – Bernalillo, McKinley, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Sandoval).