SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – State lawmakers are looking to help people get internet, water and sewer lines into their homes by paying for them. Currently, the state’s not allowed to do that. Proponents for this said it would help many New Mexicans get into the 21st century because many of them don’t have running water or internet access.
“The intent is to address these very essential needs through this amendment and then implementing legislation that will define the scope of the programs, they may approve projects,” said Rep. Christine Chandler (D- Los Alamos). “They may or may not create a fund, that’s all to be determined at our next session as we move forward.”
House Joint Resolution 9 would allow public money to go towards household infrastructures like internet access, electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater and other services. It would be geared toward low-income New Mexicans. There’s the possibility that people could also apply for financial help for major repairs to their water, sewage or electrical systems but that depends on what the legislation would later outline. Some Republican lawmakers think the proposal needs more work and worry that people could take advantage of this.
“Not that the idea is bad but the details are not there,” said Rep. Rod Montoya (R- Farmington). “And once again I think that leaves it leaves your good intentions open what would be misinvestment of state funds.”
Backers of the bill said the pandemic has highlighted the lack of broadband in homes around the state. The House gave the bill a green light, and it will now head to the Senate. If a simple majority signs off on the idea, it will go on a statewide ballot.