SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Friday, February 24, legislators are set for a busy day at the Roundhouse. Among the many bills on the agenda are a bill to bring back the Sports Authority division of the state’s Tourism Department and a bill to limit the number of charter schools in the state.
New Mexico’s Tourism Department once had a sports-focused branch, called the Sports Authority. Its goal was to develop a plan for bringing a wide range of professional and amateur sporting events to the state.
Now, Sen. Antonio Maestas (D-Abq.) wants the Sports Authority to come back. Maestas sponsored Senate Bill 389 to do just that.
Like the original Sports Authority, the bill would try to recruit and retain athletes and events. In addition, the bill would require the Sports Authority to take inventory of tall the sports venues across the state. But unlike the old Sports Authority, the new version would not create sports safety rules.
Legislators are also set to debate a proposed cap on the number of charter schools in the state. Senate Bill 422, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Abq.) and Rep. Tara L. Lujan (D-Santa Fe), would expand an existing rule limiting where new charter schools can open.
Currently, in school districts with fewer than 1,300 students, charter schools are not allowed to account for more than 10% of the funded student enrollment, according to an analysis by the Legislative Finance Committee. Senate Bill 422 would apply that limit to all school districts, not just the smaller ones.
In other words, in districts such as Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Espanola, Santa Fe, Socorro, and a few others, there could be no new charter schools if the bill became law. In those counties, the charter school student population already exceeds the 10% limit, according to the Public Education Department.
While the bill could limit the number of schools available for students, it could also prevent funds from being diverted from diverted from existing schools, according to the Legislative Finance Committee.
In case you missed it: Prison oversight
Recently, legislators debated a bill to add more oversight to the state’s Corrections Department. House Bill 297, sponsored by Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena (D-Doña Ana), would create an oversight board and ombudsperson to look into inmate complaints. The bill made it through a committee hearing Wednesday. For more info, check out this KRQE News 13 story.