Roundhouse Rundown: Lawmakers discuss hazing, equal education, NM chile
SANTA FE, N.M. – From the Roundhouse to your house, here’s a quick rundown of some of the bills lawmakers took on Wednesday:
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she wanted to make hazing a crime in New Mexico.
Just last year, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team’s season ended early following hazing allegations against three players. They’re all facing sexual assault charges now.
Senate Bill 55 would prevent hazing. It originally included a possible felony charge for people found guilty of hazing, but the bill was amended to remove that charge.
“I think it makes sense we’re trying to prevent hazing, we’re not trying to put people in jail for hazing. And taking the felony off puts it more towards education, information and prevention,” said state Sen. William Soules.
If passed, hazing would be classified as a misdemeanor. Any group that permits hazing would be liable for damages, and could lose state-funded grants, awards, or scholarships.
The Senate Education Committee sent the bill on to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 39 would put more than $27 million toward the state’s colleges. The money would be used to develop a variety of programs to help New Mexico meet the requirements of the Yazzie-Martinez lawsuit.
That suit found the state was failing to provide constitutionally-required equal education to all New Mexico students.
The bill includes establishing programs to help college students get careers as bilingual or Native American language teachers.
It was passed in a 7-3 vote and sent to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
NEW MEXICO CHILE
Lawmakers also discussed getting the word out about New Mexico’s red and green chile.
Senate Bill 93 would put $400,000 to New Mexico State University for research and develop on chile harvesting solutions. And $100,000 to develop a marketing campaign for our signature crop.
“The marketing side is primarily due to a couple of lawsuits they happened out of New York, they were consumer fraud lawsuits. We’re continuing to see the misrepresentation of New Mexico chile, we see it come out of Mexico, Colorado, other states, and they put the New Mexico name on it because there is that marketing. So we want to use these dollars to develop an aggressive marketing campaign for New Mexico chile,” said Travis Day, executive director of New Mexico Chile Growers Association.
Senate Bill 93 was passed and sent to the Senate Finance Committee.
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