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Home | Tag Archives: gov susana martinez

Tag Archives: gov susana martinez

NM Roundhouse Legal Battle Stokes Hopes for Education

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s Legislative Council hasn’t ruled out the possibility of suing Gov. Susana Martinez ahead of a potential special session of the Legislature. And family advocates are watching closely, hoping for a resolution that helps education in the state.

Lawmakers passed a bipartisan financial plan that the governor signed – but only after removing every cent of higher education funding. She also vetoed House Bill 202, which would close tax loopholes for some businesses and make millions available to primary schools.

Sharon Kayne, communications director with New Mexico Voices for Children, said her group is one of many hoping lawmakers will turn around the state’s dire education funding situation.

“Schools have been required to consistently do more with less, and that ends up meaning there are crowded classrooms, there are not enough teachers,” Kayne said. “There are not enough teaching materials. Teachers can’t even get the district to pay for scotch tape.”

According to Kayne, Albuquerque junior high schools recently eliminated all sports, because they said they can no longer afford them. Meanwhile, Gov. Martinez has stood by her strict policy of not increasing taxes, and has accused lawmakers of wasting time with the tax legislation they presented.

The governor has said that by refusing to approve any funding for higher education, she has resisted playing into the institutional politics of colleges and universities. But Kayne said lawmakers see it as a move to draw them back to the Roundhouse over the budget, in a session that will cost around $50,000 a day. Kayne said it’s families who are put in jeopardy over this kind of posturing.

“You know, we gave big cuts to corporations. That hasn’t brought us any jobs,” she said. “We’ve divested ourselves, our higher education. We’ve cut spending by about 30 percent on a per student basis, which is enormous. And tuition has gone up incredibly high to compensate for that.”

Kayne said that low- and middle-income families will be the the benefactors, whether the governor yields in a lawsuit, or decides to compromise in a rare extraordinary session of the legislature. A date has yet to be set for either, on the legislative or judicial calendars.

Governor’s Budget Stonewall Concerns NM Family Advocates

SANTA FE, N.M. – Gov. Susana Martinez refused to sign the 2017 budget presented to her by New Mexico lawmakers at the end of the legislative session last week.

Instead, she vowed to call everyone back in for a special session to amend it.

Family advocates are worried that in the feud, the modest social service gains made in the budget will be lost.

James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, says he’s disheartened that the governor won’t accept legislators’ bipartisan efforts to benefit New Mexico families.

“Families and children are not going to prosper if we continue to cut the support that we have for them, in healthcare and education in particular,” he states.

Jimenez adds that New Mexico still hasn’t climbed out of the 2008 recession, and families are the ones who are suffering as the state wrestles with the highest unemployment rate in the country.

Martinez has been strict on not raising taxes, but also has trimmed spending on government services anywhere she can. If she does not veto the budget by April 7, it automatically goes into effect.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature produced a tax-and-spend budget that lawmakers insist has the compromises the governor’s office requested. But Jimenez is concerned that, in addition to education and health care, other important state services are going without.

“We have not seen the kind of support for the programs that, when children get in trouble or children are victims of abuse and neglect, there’s not been nearly enough resources devoted to programs that support families that are in those situations,” he states.

Jimenez adds a special legislative session could cost New Mexico residents $40,000 to $50,000 a day.

Brett McPherson, Public News Service – NM

NM Lawmakers Challenge Governor’s Veto of ‘Teachers Are Humans Too’

SANTA FE, N.M. – Teachers in New Mexico are in an uproar that Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a bill that would stop using the number of sick days they take as part of their performance evaluations. And now, state lawmakers are coming to their aid. House Bill 241 – nicknamed “Teachers Are Humans Too” – passed both the Senate and House, but wasn’t signed into law by the governor.

Sen. Craig Brandt is leading the charge to get the two-thirds majority needed from each chamber to overturn her decision. He calls the veto “fundamentally unfair.”

“We are currently punishing our teachers for being sick, which forces them to go to school sick and make their children sick,” he said. “I don’t think that’s healthy, for them or their students.”

Brandt adds that New Mexico is ranked forty-ninth nationally in terms of educational quality, which hasn’t changed since the governor took office in 2011. The state struggles with budget problems in addition to academic performance, which Martinez has been working to address.

Educators currently get 10 sick days each school year, and are disciplined with deductions from a point system that tracks their attendance. In a prepared statement about the veto, Gov. Martinez said she’s proud of the $3.6 billion saved last year from teachers taking less sick time, which includes money the state has to pay substitute teachers when others call in sick.

But Senator Brandt doesn’t like the trade-off.

“Does it save some money?” he asked. “Maybe, in the short term. But at what cost to the health, the morale and the well-being of our teachers?”

Brandt says he has the votes he needs to override the veto in the Senate and is working quickly to get them in House. If he gets the required two-thirds majority in both chambers, he says it would be the first override of a veto in the five years he’s been a state senator.

Author: Brett McPherson, Public News Service

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