The New Mexico Legislature is now in session, having convened around noon with all due pomp and ceremony.
Two hours and several hundred introductions later, Gov. Susana Martinez delivered her State of the State to lawmakers. Her goals for the session and the state are direct: confront violent crime, compete for jobs and demand more than mediocrity in education. But with uncertain revenues and flat agency budgets, the major task will be to prioritize more and better.
Though the governor’s primary focus is K-12 public education, she did say current higher education graduation rates in New Mexico remain unacceptable and that students take too much time, spend too much money and waste too many credits. Initiatives like tuition incentives and streamlined degree programs will help bolster graduation rates. The governor also wants legislators to approve a Student Work Internship Portal, which will connect students and graduates to positions posted by New Mexico businesses. The bottom line is encouraging graduates to stay in New Mexico.
The feed bill, which pays for the session, will be heard this afternoon. House and Senate committees will organize in the days to come.
UNM Day at the Legislature will take place next Monday, Jan. 25. As always, we anticipate a great presence with persuasive students and fabulous exhibits.
Senate Finance has scheduled its higher education budget hearing for Tuesday, Jan. 26, with House Appropriations and Finance (HAFC) taking up higher ed the following afternoon, Jan. 27. At some time next week, the state’s financial gurus will also come up with their latest revenue projections.
Keep up with what’s happening by following the Bill Tracker at govrel.unm.edu.