AFT New Mexico Legislative Re-Cap #7: A Short Update

AFT New Mexico News:

A quick look on the legislation that was supported Monday in the Roundhouse and a look at what is coming up today, Feb. 7:

Monday, Feb. 6:

House Education Committee

HB 151, carried by Rep. Christine Trujillo, received its first hearing Monday morning in House Education. HB 151 seeks to grant access to unemployment benefits for adjunct and contingent faculty when their class schedules are abruptly cancelled. Currently, this group of educators do not have access to unemployment benefits in these scenarios.

AFT New Mexico supports this legislation and testified in support of HB 151 this morning. Also joining us were members of the United Academics of UNM who also spoke to the importance of this legislation on behalf of adjunct and contingent faculty across New Mexico. HB 151 passed on a party-line vote of 7-5. The legislation now heads to the Labor Committee, likely next week.

HB 30, sponsored by Reps. Garratt and Chandler, is the Public School Ventilation Improvement Act. In partnership with our union kin at the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, this legislation would institute provisions for scheduled ventilation assessments and public reports of those inspections. The legislation would also make funds available for qualified, highly trained professionals to do the assessments.

AFT New Mexico supports HB 30, and testified in support this morning on behalf of school employees and our students. The legislation did not receive a final vote in committee so that sponsors could make a few amendments based on feedback during the committee hearing.

Coming Up Tuesday, Feb. 7:

House Labor, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee

House Bill 102, carried by Rep. Ray Lara and co-sponsored by Reps. Debbie Sariñana, Natalie Figueroa, and Sen. Harold Pope, Jr., would expand health insurance premium coverage for New Mexico’s K-12 public educators and several New Mexico Public State Insurance Authority-participating higher education institutions (e.g., AFT NM locals Northern New Mexico College and Santa Fe Community College). The legislation would also include those in the Albuquerque Public Schools insurance plan.

Specifically, educators would have their first $10,000 in premiums covered, and any healthcare premiums over $10,000 would be covered at a rate of 60% by the employer. For many educators, this would represent 100% coverage for their insurance plan.

A top priority of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, AFT NM is in strong support of this legislation. It not only represents more money in the pockets of New Mexico educators, but also helps to remedy the lower levels of coverage for educators, when compared to other state workers. HB 102 previously passed the House Education Committee with a bi-partisan vote of 10-2.

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