New Mexico on track to pass $330 million virus relief bill


FILE – Clerks prepare the state Senate chamber in New Mexico for the arrival of legislators in Santa Fe, N.M., on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she’ll consider red-flag gun legislation, proposals to legalize recreational marijuana and new incentives for localized renewable energy installations. Spending increases are being sought for K-12 education, early childhood programs, tuition-free college and more amid a state budget surplus.(AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The state legislature is meeting for the second time this year to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and has introduced a bill to channel millions in federal funding into a one-time stimulus of $1,200 to economically stressed workers. The bill aims to inject about $350 million in direct economic aid for the unemployed, small businesses and emergency housing subsidies.

For workers laid off during the pandemic, it would provide a $1,200 one-time payment to help hurting households. Money may also be allocated for increased COVID-19 testing capacity to speed up results. The bill also provides smaller stimulus checks to immigrants without legal status in the country and dependents, as well as additional funds for food banks, virus testing and contact tracing efforts.

Lawmakers say the proposed spending will be made possible by federal relief funding previously assigned to New Mexico.

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