Jobs Bill Gets Unanimous Vote in House

Speaker of the House W. Ken Martinez

NM HOUSE News:

SANTA FE–The pledge to create jobs in New Mexico has picked up steam in the House of Representatives. House Bill 273a (Economic Development Grant & Program), an initiative put forth by the bipartisan interim Jobs Council, passed the House on a vote of 67-0. 

HB 273a creates a grant program that allows the Economic Development Commission (EDC), which is attached to the Economic Development Department (EDD), to make grants to local economic development organizations. 

The grants will be used to hire economic development professionals (up to 50 percent of the cost), and to report on job creation efforts and outcomes. The program puts forth a state and local partnership to expand economic development and job creation capabilities. HB 273a is sponsored by Speaker of the House W. Ken Martinez, D-Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, Socorro, San Juan, Valencia, who also is co-chair of the interim Legislative Jobs Council. 

“Local economic development agencies are on the front lines trying to attract business and create economic base jobs,” Martinez said. “This grant program will boost their efforts by helping them hire professional staff. It also allows us the opportunity to collect data and coordinate efforts. I’m thrilled to see the Jobs Council initiatives move forward.”

On the floor Friday, Martinez introduced Mark Lautman of Lautman Economic Architecture who facilitated the work of the Jobs Council, and noted physicists Dave Csintyan and Anatoliy Glushchenko from the “See the Change Foundation” in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

The foundation has perfected middle school physics that is proving to flip student success. The program, now in six school districts, is helping students advance four grade levels in one year. 

Martinez is hoping to start a similar program in New Mexico. He has co-sponsored Senate Bill 161 with Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Doña Ana, which establishes the Science Early Education Program as a five-year pilot project. 

It would incorporate physics, computer programming, and chemistry into the sixth through eighth grade curricula. SB 161 is in the Senate Finance Committee. This is another of the initiatives brought forth by the Jobs Council.

New Mexico ranks last in job growth in the nation according to New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research. The state labor force grew less than 1 percent during the most recent three-year period. The Legislative Jobs Council has worked on a blueprint to change those statistics and create approximately 160,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

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