The Senate approved a budget bill that cuts $600 million from the record $7.6 billion budget that was passed by the regular session in February. Even with the cut it is still larger than the previous year’s budget. The bill must now be signed by Governor Lujan Grisham to go into effect. The governor is expected to sign the bill even though it cuts more than $150 million than she had suggested. The most notable cuts were a reduction in raises for teachers and state workers earning less than $50,000 a year from 4% to 1%. Most state agencies will also see a reduction of 4% to their budgets and the Opportunity Scholarship, Governor Lujan Grisham’s plan to give New Mexicans free college tuition, is reduced from $17million to $5 million. The Senate adjourned after passing the budget bill.
The House reconvenes Monday at 11 a.m. to take up bills passed by the Senate requiring police officers to wear body cameras and another to provide loans to small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak.