SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Lawmakers are working to expand a bill that passed in 2019, to include activities across the state. Right now, foster families can take advantage of free access to cultural services like zoos, museums, and parks. House Bill 35 is looking to add even more opportunities for foster kids to enjoy.

“This is a thank you, to those who have stepped in these foster families and provided love and care and support for our most vulnerable children out there,” said Senator Crystal Diamond.

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The original bill, House Bill 303, was so well received by families that Senator Diamond and Representative Stefani Lord are sponsoring the bill. Diamond says it was a no-brainer to expand on it.

So they decided to add more outdoor activities to give foster kids a chance to experience everything New Mexico has to offer. The bill would allow for up to three nights of overnight camping, and through a partnership with Game and Fish, free access to state lakes for fishing.

About 1,800 New Mexico children are in the foster care system and fees for any admission can add up fast. “At this point the bill comes at zero cost to the state of New Mexico cause we already have the staff available to facilitate these parks,” said Sen. Diamond.

Families would have to provide their own fishing poles as well as any camping materials they may need. Senator Diamond says the original bill was passed unanimously in 2019. She doesn’t expect this one to have any issues this session.