The Latest: New Mexico governor presses for preschool funds
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on activity at the New Mexico Legislature (all times local):
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is urging members of the Legislature's powerful Senate Finance Committee to increase funding for early childhood education as a new agency is created to oversee preschool and infant services.
Lujan Grisham appeared before the committee Friday with her granddaughter in her lap to urge greater withdrawals from a multi-billion dollar state education trust to fund preschool. She said without greater funding, the state is making a "Sophie's choice" to educate some children and not others.
Democratic Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith warned that other states such as Alaska and North Dakota have failed to safeguard trusts derived from fossil fuels.
She says her push to provide universal access to preschool will require annual spending of $285 million. It is unusual in New Mexico for a governor to lobby a committee directly.
Legislators are hammering out agreements to increase annual spending on public school education by a half-billion dollars after consummating New Mexico's version of a "Green New Deal" that aims for carbon-free electricity production within a generation.
The consequences of sweeping Democratic midterm election victories in New Mexico were coming into focus in the final full day of the state's annual legislative session on Friday.
Two successive annual budget surpluses in excess of $1 billion are allowing the Legislature to plot a major economic stimulus package and respond to a judge's order to boost resources to public education.
As Democrats push through the state's first minimum wage increase in a decade, their own ideological divides have sidelined efforts to legalize recreational marijuana and remove a dormant criminal ban on abortion.