Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis, said he expected a huge funding bill that included numerous capital outlay requests to be voted on sometime during the next few days.
Harden, who headed for Clovis on Thursday to attend to family matters, said he submitted his priorities for capital outlay before he left.
There’s expected to be $40 million in capital outlay available for lawmakers this session.
His top priority for Curry County is roads. He said he didn’t know how much money he asked for.
He also submitted money for the county detention center.
“When I left I wasn’t sure what we would be getting or what we had to work with,” he said.
The fact that the eastern side of the state has several lawmakers representing the area makes getting projects funded a little easier, Harden said.
“We’ve got a legislative team and so what we try to do is get together and try to fund 100 percent of the projects for our area or as much as we can,” he said. “On the eastern side of the state we represent various counties and try to make those dollars we have go as far as we can.”
A bill that will be particularly important for Cannon Air Force Base was approved by the Senate on Thursday.
It now goes to the House where it’s expected to also receive support. The governor also already said he backed the bill.
The legislation would provide money for New Mexico’s military bases.
Through the legislation an overpass leading to Cannon would be upgraded, as would Highway 60/84, which leads to the Clovis-area base.
The legislation includes a compensating tax deduction for articles brought to New Mexico for research, development, testing and evaluation, as well as $400,000 to support the Office of Military Base Planning and Support and the Military Base Planning Commission.
The bill also moves the Office of Military Base Planning into the Governor’s Office, under Homeland Security Advisor Brig. Gen. Sobel.
Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton, said he recognized what a big deal getting money for bases was for the state.
“I haven’t looked at the bill closely,” Moore said. “I agree though that it’s a huge issue. It’s big for our portion of the state.”
The House approval of a bill that would allow high school graduation rates to include those students who get their GEDs within one year of leaving high school is creating a lot of discussion in Santa Fe among local lawmakers.
Harden said he would support legislation that would allow students who are as young as sophomores to get their GEDs if they are ready to move on.
“I do support GEDs,” he said. “If a young person is ready to get on with their career path and plan to go to somewhere like Clovis Community College in their sophomore year of high school they should be able to go for it,” he said.
Moore said there has been talk in other states about making the 12th year of school optional.
“The thinking in states like Colorado who are thinking about letting students choose if they want to attend school for the 12th year is that seniors are bored,” he said. “Some bright kids drop out and it would be much better if they could get their GED or college education.”