State House approves more pay, infrastructure spending | KOB 4
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State House approves more pay, infrastructure spending

The Associated Press
February 01, 2018 07:03 AM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico state spending plan that would increase pay for teachers, top elected official and state workers has been approved by the New Mexico House of Representatives.

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House lawmakers voted 65-3 Wednesday in favor of a $6.32 billion general fund budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. The plan would increase spending by 3.9 percent over the current fiscal year, while rebuilding state reserves. An oil-sector boom has increased state income.

The bill now goes to the Senate for amendment. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez eventually can veto provisions line-by-line.

Funding for public education would increase by $62 million - with enough money to boost average teacher salaries by about 2.5 percent.

New infrastructure spending includes $80 million for roadways and $10 million toward the state's spaceport launch facility.

Emile Cantrell, the press secretary for Gov. Susana Martinez's office, provided this statement on the budget:

"Unfortunately, lawmakers cut corners in drafting this budget, which is soft on crime, and it shows. The current version is full of millions of dollars in unvetted pork projects, and leaves law enforcement and the District Attorney in Albuquerque – one of the areas hardest hit by the recent crime wave – woefully underfunded. The Governor is very concerned about the budget in its current form, and hopes lawmakers will address its glaring deficiencies before sending it to her desk."

NEW MEXICO LAWMAKERS PUSH BI-PARTISAN PACKAGE TO CURB CRIME

Lawmakers have assembled a bi-partisan package of proposals meant to curb crime, and it has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved an omnibus package of public safety bills that now goes to the House Floor for a vote.

It includes six bills, including one that would push jails and prisons to screen more inmates for health problems and connect them with treatment services. Reps. Daymon Ely, a Corrales Democrat, and Nate Gentry, an Albuquerque Republican, say the intent of the bill is to reduce recidivism.

A measure sponsored by Republican Rep. David Adkins to provide bonuses to veteran police officers also is included. It's meant to increase the number of officers on the streets.

Democratic Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas calls the package a "common sense approach" to public safety.

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The Associated Press

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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