Early Ed proposal fails in Senate committee

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With just three days left in the session, the Senate Rules committee effectively killed an effort to tap New Mexico’s permanent land grant fund to provide additional resources for early childhood education.

A motion to table the measure was made by Democratic Senator Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces. She was joined by Republicans on the committee and one other Democrat, Sen. Clemente Sanchez of Grants.

The resolution was first brought up for debate in the committee on Monday, when Papen and Sanchez weren’t present. As the discussion got underway that day, Republican committee members got up and left one by one, leaving the committee without the quorum necessary for a vote.

Before the tabling motion was made by Papen, Sanchez directed comments to Chairwoman Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, expressing displeasure that the measure was brought up on Monday while he was not in committee, saying that Lopez knew in advance he would be in a meeting.

He had been getting calls from constituents, he said, alleging that he didn’t care about early education.

Nonetheless, he joined Sen. Papen and others in voting to table the bill on Wednesday.

Papen explained her motion to table the early ed bill as the hearing concluded, stating that she supported early education but would not approve a measure that taps into the land grant permanent fund.

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