2018 Legislative Session Update

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February 2, 2018
The Budget Passes the House and Other Bills to Watch

House Bill 2, The Budget– House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Bill 2 by a vote of 65-3. This is a critical sign this budget has the momentum to pass in the State Senate and be sent to the Governor for her signature. We will continue to advocate strongly for HB 2 as it moves to the Senate Finance Committee, and then eventually to the full Senate for a vote.

As a reminder House Bill 2 includes funding for:

·     $61 Million in new money for education, which represents a 2.3% increase,

·     Increased funding for early learning, Pre-K and K3+ programs,

·     Lower “below-the-line” allocations for PED’s program slush fund,

·     $2,000 raises to the three-tier minimum teacher salary schedule (raising minimums to $36,000, $44,000, and $54,000 for Tiers I-III, respectively.)

·     2.5% raises for certified teachers,

·     2% raises for all classified and certified (non-teacher) employees,

·     1% increase for Higher Education budget through the Higher Education funding formula,

·     2% raise for Higher Education employees,

·     Restoration of swept transportation and instructional materials funding

AFT New Mexico supports this budget as it is written, but we are still pursuing an additional .5% salary increase for classified educational employees and certified (non-teacher) educational employees as this bill moves to the New Mexico State Senate.

House Bill 86, Carried by Rep. Dennis Roch, this bill would extend the life cycle of a school bus from 12 years to 15 years of service. AFT New Mexico opposes this bill, as do many school districts, bus safety inspectors, and bus maintenance personnel. Proponents of this bill claim it will result in a cost savings for school districts, however, we believe the potential safety risks and additional maintenance expenses are not worth it. Instead, we should increase funding for transportation so that busses are replaced on a cycle that allows for maximum safety for both students and transportation personnel.

HB 86 narrowly passed the House Education Committee on Wednesday with six Republicans voting for the bill and five Democrats voting against. The bill travels next to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, and we will continue to speak out against it.

ACTION: E-mail the Senate Education Committee in FAVOR of Senate Bill 57

SB 57, carried by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto would raise the minimum wage for classified educational employees to $16 per hour starting in July of 2019 and then index that salary to increases in the Consumer Price Index. We know that classified staff are integral parts of every student’s educational success, and believe a full time employee shouldn’t make poverty wages.

Please CLICK HERE and send a note to the members of the Senate Education Committee letting them know that classified employees are worth $16/hour and the importance of the work they perform every day in our places of learning!

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January 30, 2018
House Bill 2 Moves to Floor of House of Representatives Tomorrow!

This morning the House Appropriations and Finance Committee advanced House Bill 2, the State Budget for Fiscal Year 19 our of their committee and to the entire House of Representatives. Stay engaged as this bill progresses!

This important vote will occur tomorrow evening, and House Bill 2 includes funding for:

  • $61 Million in new money for education, which represents a 2.3% increase,
  • Increased funding for early learning, Pre-K and K3+ programs,
  • Lower “below-the-line” allocations for PED’s program slush fund,
  • $2,000 raises to the three-tier minimum teacher salary schedule (raising minimums to $36,000, $44,000, and $54,000 for Tiers I-III, respectively.)
  • 2.5% raises for certified teachers,
  • 2% raises for all classified and certified (non-teacher) employees,
  • 1% increase for Higher Education budget through the Higher Education funding formula,
  • 2% raise for Higher Education employees,
  • Restoration of swept transportation and instructional materials funding

AFT New Mexico supports this budget as it is written, but are still pursuing an additional .5% salary increase for classified educational employees and certified (non-teacher) educational employees as this bill moves to the New Mexico State Senate.

We want to thank the leadership of Rep. Patricia Lundstrom and Rep. George Dodge for their leadership during the budget-crafting process and for ensuring that New Mexico’s public education system is receiving its fair share of funding through this year’s budget and for working to increase New Mexico’s ability to attract and retain the best qualified educators possible for our schools and institutions of higher education.

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January 26, 2018
20 Days Left – Unanimous Votes to Raise Salaries & Convert Sick Leave to Retirement Credit

House Bill 85, carried by Rep. Dennis Roch, the Superintendent for Logan Schools, would allow all educational employees who are active participants in the Educational Retirement Board (ERB) to use accrued sick leave towards retirement service credit. Rep. Roch correctly recognized that all educational employees should be able to benefit from prioritizing attendance and service to New Mexico Public Schools. AFT NM supports this bill, and it passed with unanimous support of the House Education Committee. It next will be heard in House Appropriations and Finance Committee.

Senate Bill 119, carried by Sen. Mimi Stewart, would codify into law minimum salaries for educators who are within the 3-tier system to $36,000 for Level I; $44,000 for Level II; and, $54,000 for Level III. This bill is important for at least two reasons. While Level I salary minimums have been increased recently to $34,000, this amount is not in law, but has instead been implemented through rule. Second, raising Level II and III minimum salaries, while not yet where they need to be, makes an effort to retain our more veteran educators in public schools. Importantly, the Legislative Education Study Committee has endorsed this bill, and the increases are included in the current Legislative Finance Committee budget that will be voted on later during the session. (Currently Senate Bill 119 only addresses certified educators, but AFT NM is pursuing salary increased for all other classified employees through Senate Bill 57 as well as seeking a 2.5% raise through the Legislative Finance Committee’s budgetary process.) AFT NM supports this bill, and it passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee this morning.

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January 24, 2018
22 Days Left – Senate Takes Action on School Funding & Sexual Assault Training

Today, the Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 25, carried by Senator Howie Morales, which would increase the tax places on packages of cigarettes by $1.50 per pack, and also designates e-cigarettes as taxable tobacco products. AFT New Mexico supports this bill, as it will generate an estimated $89 million in new revenue for New Mexico public schools.

The bill will now go to the Senate Corporations and Transportations Committee for an additional hearing.

A second bill, which passed the Senate Education Committee this morning, was Senate Bill 31, carried by Senator Mimi Stewart, which would allocate funding for the purpose of training educators and administrators in recognizing and reporting suspected instances of sexual assault and abuse in public schools. AFT New Mexico supports this bill, and it will be heard next in the Senate Finance Committee.

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January 23, 2018
23 Days Left – House Education Committee Passes Early Childhood Education Legislation

Even though many committees are still organizing, the House Education Committee tackled an important piece of legislation aimed at closing the funding gap for New Mexico’s earliest learners.

HJR 1: This Joint Resolution, if passed, would ask voters in the State of New Mexico to vote on whether or not the School Permanent Fund should be utilized to expand access for early childhood education in the State of New Mexico and increase K-12 funding and higher education funding for two school years through disbursements from the interest earned on the fund. Should this Joint Resolution pass both the House and the Senate, it would not require the signature of the Governor, as it would go to the voters for ultimate approval during the 2018 general election. AFT NM supports increased funding for universal early childhood education, and we believe the K-12 education and higher education funding must be stabilized. It passed the House Education Committee yesterday on a 7-6 vote.

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