Breaking down lawmakers’ bills on kids and families

New Mexico ranks 49th in child well-being. Wonder what the state’s lawmakers are doing about it? We looked at 2,586 legislative ideas on kids and families so you don’t have to. Here’s what we learned:

Lawmakers proposed more than double the number of bills, memorials and resolutions during the Richardson administration than during the Martinez administration. The database shows lawmakers proposed 1,749 legislative initiatives under Democrat Gov. Bill Richardson and 837 initiatives under Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Analysis: Legislative efforts to boost child well-being often mired in partisanship

The big idea — a plan to close the achievement gap between low- and upper-income students — jumped off the pages of a magazine. It was 2003, and then-Rep. Mimi Stewart, an Albuquerque Democrat and former schoolteacher, read an article by the late leader of the American Federation of Teachers union, Sandra Feldman. She proposed adding five weeks to the school year for low-income kindergarten students and called it “Kindergarten-Plus.”

Stewart ran a bill to create the program in New Mexico. Her version of Feldman’s idea had many things going for it — not least that Stewart herself had already spent eight years in the House building political capital. Democrats had full control of the Roundhouse and a governor from their party.