Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As I reflect on my first term in office, I want to share what I think are important accomplishments. I campaigned on the issues of land and water, rural economic development, and education, and I have worked to merge that platform with real programs that impact the constituents of House District 41.
Last year we saw the biggest increase in educational funding in 8 years. This year we have further increased funding for education by 28%, and gave all teachers a 5% raise and all school personnel a 4% raise. We continue to concentrate on improving education for all students. It is expected that we will create an Early Childhood Education Trust Fund in the amount of$300 million and have increased investment in early childhood programs by 28%.
I worked tirelessly both sessions to provide funding to create a drug treatment center at the old nursing home in Espanola. In April of 2020, we will be cutting the ribbon for a center that will house 110 clients and create jobs for approximately 70 people. In addition, the Hoy Recovery Program will open its doors within the next six months to house 22 women and their children for long term drug abuse treatment programs while also creating about 25 jobs.
I carried the legislation in the House last session to create a technical trade school at Northern’s El Rito Campus and joined with the school districts of Espanola, Taos, Jemez Springs, Pojoaque and Mesa Vista to pass a bond issue to support the long term funding of a technical trade school. Northern ‘s El Rito Campus is scheduled to open next fall. They will offer dual enrollment programs for the Pipefitters, Plumbers, and Electricians. Next year, juniors in high school may begin taking courses at both their high school and Northern. Upon graduation they will be certified trades workers, leading to jobs at the Lab with beginning wages of $60,000 a year plus benefits.
This year I carried the Census Bill (SB4) in the House and it was signed by the Governor on February 10th. This bill will help bring in an additional $7.8 billion a year in federal funds to our state over the next 10 years. I’m working on HB 248 to provide about $10 million a year for Mutual Domestic Water Associations to help repair and rebuild aging systems in rural unincorporated areas of our state. I was appointed to the House Appropriations & Finance Committee for 2020 and, in that capacity, I have helped create a new judgeship for the First Judicial District (Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Rio Arriba).
This will help clear up the backlog in our courts. I was instrumental in getting Dual Enrollment Credit for our colleges, which brings sustaining revenues to Northern New Mexico College for the coming years.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and I look forward to seeing you in the coming months.
Susan Herrera, D-41
Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Taos
Top Bills Introduced or Co-sponsored by Rep. Susan Herrera during the 54th Legislature’s Second Session in 2020
- HB 225: Kiki Saavedra Senior Dignity Fund—a bill to appropriate $5 million for FY21 to provide more senior services. This bill also sets up a $25 million trust fund for senior services in the years to come.
STATUS: Passed the House 62 to 0 on 2/12/2020. Passed the Senate 38-0 2/17/2020. Signed by the Governor 2/26/2020
- HB 244: Española School District IRS Fines—a bill to provide the Española Schools with $1 million to reimburse audit fund errors created by the NM Public Education Department.
STATUS: Died in House Education Committee due to lack of hearing.
- SB 69: Drinking Water System Financing—a bill to appropriate $2.5 million for drinking water system financing creating a 20% match for federal funding from the EPA.
STATUS: Passed the Senate 39-0 2/10/2020. Passed the House 60-0. Signed by the Governor 3/6/2020
- SB 146: Subsidized Guardianships—a bill to help place homeless, abused or neglected children in homes with their relatives and provide funds for these families through the Children Youth and Families Department.
STATUS: Passed the Senate 41-0 2/16/2020. Passed the House 70 to 0 2/20/2020. Signed by the Governor 3/6/2020.
- SB4: Complete Count Census—a bill to provide $8 million for local communities to complete an accurate census count in 2020.
STATUS: Passed the Senate 39-0 1/29/2020. Passed the House 68-0 2/5/2020. Signed by the Governor 2/10/2020.
- HB 289: MVD Emergency Contact Database—a bill to require the Motor Vehicle Division to have an emergency contact name in the MVD database so that relatives can be contacted in case of an accident or emergency.
STATUS: Died in House Rules Committee due to lack of hearing.
- HB 248: Water Association Infrastructure Act—a bill that will create an annual $20 to $30 million fund for mutual domestic water systems. This fund will help MDWS in planning, designing, construction, improving or expanding qualified water projects. Passed House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee 6-0 2/5/2020. Referred to House Taxation and Revenue for hearing on 2/19/2020.
STATUS: Died in Tax and Revenue Committee due to lack of time. Committee Chairman Javier Martinez asked that this bill be reviewed during the interim session.
- HR 280: Retired Teachers as Substitutes—a bill to allow retired school teachers to return to the classroom without affecting their pension fund. Died in House Education Committee due to lack of hearing.