SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Friday, February 17, legislators are once again set to tackle a wide range of bills. Among those up for discussion are a joint resolution that could give New Mexicans the right to a clean environment and a bill to address attendance issues in public schools.

Environmental rights

Earlier this week, legislators spent time debating Senate Joint Resolution 6, which would allow voters to decide if they want to amend the New Mexico Constitution to include environmental rights. Today, discussion on the idea will continue, and the Senate Rules Committee will likely decide whether or not the idea moves forward.

The New Mexico Constitution lays out rights that all New Mexicans are entitled to enjoy. Senate Joint Resolution 6 could add the right to “clean and healthy air, water, soil and environments; a stable climate; and self-sustaining ecosystems.”

Supporters of the joint resolution point out that some other states already give such rights to their residents. Opponents say giving New Mexicans environmental rights could lead to more lawsuits and could cause delays in the state’s transition to renewable energy.

For more info on the debate of the so-called “green amendment,” check out this KRQE News 13 story. And remember, even if legislators approve the joint resolution, the idea will still need approval from New Mexico’s voters before becoming reality.

Attendance issues

Legislators are also set to consider a bill aimed at improving attendance in New Mexico’s schools. Senate Bill 367, sponsored by Sen. Harold Pope (D-Abq.), would try to boost attendance using several methods.

The bill would reduce a school’s funding if students receive 10 or more consecutive unexcused absences after they’ve been provided all appropriate interventions. This may essentially act as an incentive for schools to address the most serious forms of chronic absenteeism.

The bill would also require schools to notify parents about services and consequences for students who miss 5% of school, according to an analysis of the bill. And schools would be required to offer students opportunities to catch up on missed coursework.

A KRQE News 13 investigation revealed that in some New Mexico schools, up to 80% or 90% of the students are considered “chronically absent.” On top of that, some New Mexico school districts have low math and English proficiency rates, so it’s no surprise that legislators are trying to find ways to improve schools.

In case you missed it: Electric vehicle tax credits

Recently, legislators in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee moved New Mexico one step closer to more affordable electric vehicles. The committee voted in favor of House Bill 412, which would offer tax credits to New Mexicans who purchase an electric vehicle.

When combined with federal offers, the bill could help purchasers save up to $10,000 off the cost of an electric vehicle, supporters say. And somewhere around 3,300 New Mexicans per year might be able to receive a credit. For more info, check out this KRQE News 13 story.