ALBUQUERQUE — Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation Friday that will help fund local veterans cemeteries throughout the state. House Bill 185, sponsored by Representative David Adkins (R-Albuquerque), will allow taxpayers to voluntarily donate their tax return dollars into a fund that will help pay for rural veterans cemeteries.
“In a state as large and rural as ours, we need to ensure that more of our veterans can be laid to rest closer to home,” Martinez said. “New Mexicans have always stood ready to answer the call to serve our state and nation in the U.S. Armed Forces, and signing this bill will help provide more special resting places befitting our veterans and their sacrifices.”
House Bill 185 builds on the $600,000 in initial funding secured by Martinez in 2014 to build state veterans cemeteries in Fort Stanton, Angel Fire, Gallup, and Carlsbad to serve more veterans and their families who live in rural areas throughout the state. Martinez signed four additional veteran and military-related bills.
Senate Bill 153, sponsored by Senator Craig Brandt (R-Rio Rancho), will make it easier for veterans and service members to earn college credit for the skills and training they received in the military. The bill directs the Higher Education Department to work with New Mexico’s colleges and universities to establish uniform standards for awarding college credit for military service.
House Bill 93, sponsored by Representative Bob Wooley (R-Roswell), will improve the veteran procurement preference for New Mexico’s veteran-owned small businesses that seek to secure state contracts.
House Bill 17, sponsored by Representatives Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos) and Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), helps ensure veterans and their dependents qualify for in-state tuition. The bill clarifies the word “veteran” as any New Mexico resident who was enlisted, drafted, inducted or commissioned in the United States military.
House Bill 156, sponsored by Representative John Zimmerman (R-Las Cruces), establishes new awards to recognize the accomplishments of those who have served in the New Mexico National Guard or State Defense Force.
“I’m proud to sign these bills into law today because they will help us continue to do all we can to support our veterans and military service members,” Martinez concluded. “These bills will help make New Mexico an even better place for veterans to live, work, raise a family, start a business, or get an education.”
Each of these bills passed both houses of the New Mexico Legislature with broad bipartisan support.