A proposed early childhood department got its start-up funding cut in half and even its name was reconsidered, but it survived the sausage making in the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday morning, earning a unanimous vote to move on to the next legislative committee.
The biggest bone of contention in the hearing over SB 22 was ensuring how the Public Education Department would apply for funding for its New Mexico PreK slots from a new Early Childhood Education and Care Department. The version that finally exited the Rules committee was v9.0. We’ll link to that when the Legislature’s website uploads the marked up bill.
If you want to get a little sense of the tick-tock of the hearing, check out this tweet thread.
The bill — which would bring services for children from birth to age 5 from the Children Youth and Families, Public Education, Health and Human Services all under one roof — now has 24 days to clear two more committees in the Senate, the Senate floor, and a similar process in the House before it can make its way to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk.
Co-sponsor Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, was optimistic that it would get to the Senate floor by Tuesday, calling the Rules committee the “hardest nut to crack” in getting the bill moving. He didn’t discount the work it would take to get his proposal through the House, but said support from the governor will help it along.
Chief of Staff John Bingaman was at the hearing Wednesday on behalf of the governor’s office. “This bill is a top priority for the governor,” Bingaman said. “The governor believes the research is clear: the early years of a child’s life are formative and lay the foundation for the child’s future health, well-being and development.”