With the gavel dropping Tuesday, New Mexico’s 54th legislative session kicked off.
Education was the central theme as the new governor gave her first State of the State address and kicked off the legislative session.
Lawmakers have a lot of money to work with, as Democrats control both Houses, and the High Office, for the first time in eight years.
The session began by swearing in the new lawmakers, and there are even more Democrats this year. Afterward, Gov. Lujan Grisham gave her remakers, which largely focused on changing the education system in New Mexico.
“We need our educators, who are truly the best in the nation, to know this state will support them and treat them with the respect that they deserve and in fact, have always deserved,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
The 54th Legislature will span 60 days, and hundreds of pieces of legislation have already been introduced. Lawmakers have a billion-dollar surplus to work with, mainly from oil.
Both the governor and lawmakers have made it clear that schools, from pre-k to higher ed, need more resources. A teacher salary increase is all but guaranteed, according to budget proposals from the fourth floor and a bipartisan legislative committee.
As for crime, the governor said she wants tougher gun laws, and to focus on crime preventing measures.
“We will empower our local public safety officers to enact community policing reforms, and we will build solutions to the drug addiction epidemic while holding bad actors accountable,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
Meanwhile, some of the few returning Republicans, like Rep. Bill Rehm, have introduced hefty crime penalty enhancement bills. Those will probably face an uphill battle.
So far, nearly 500 pieces of legislation have been introduced, including more gun control and minimum wage hikes.
- Watch Gov. Lujan Grisham’s 2019 SOTS Address
- Read the entire State of the State Address
- Click here to view a list of pre-filed bills