New Mexico governor vetoes bill to protect time off for teachers

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The governor is facing backlash Thursday night after she vetoed a bill that would have allowed teachers to take more sick days without being punished for it. Even Republicans are blasting the move and vow to fight it.

“We’re putting dollars ahead of people’s health and I just think that’s repulsive,” said Sen. Craig Brandt, the bill’s sponsor.

Under the current plan, teachers can be absent for three days before they’re penalized on their personal evaluations. The “Teachers Are Human, Too” bill would have raised that to 10 days.It overwhelmingly passed both the Senate and House. 

The governor explained her veto in a statement, saying teacher absences are down significantly since 2012. She also argues districts can’t afford to pay more substitutes to cover for teachers’ absences and overall students lose out because subs aren’t as qualified as teachers.Read the governor’s full statement >>

Local teachers are also responding to the move.

“I don’t think there will be a single teacher that’s surprised. We have never had the support from this governor,” said Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

“I’ve never been in any business, I’ve never been an employee where I was punished for using my sick leave, and that’s all this does. It punishes teachers for using their sick leave,” Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Sandoval County, said.

Sen. Brandt says he’ll be asking for a veto override on Friday.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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