2020 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

 

NEA-NM 2020 LEGISLATIVE GOALS

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February 15, 2020

On the Education Radar

The 4th week of the legislative session began with a whimper when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to table SB 110 on Monday but ended with a bang when the same bill got resurrected and brought back to the committee on Friday and received a “Do Pass”.  You and all other public union employees made it happen.

Three of the most important education bills of the session passed Senate Education Committee this Friday morning.  More money for “At-Risk” students!  More funds for Teacher Residencies and for Mentors!  Each bill will soon be heard on the Senate Floor, so contact your own Senator to support these.  HB59a increases the At-Risk unit funding for the purpose of providing more services to our students (the majority of NM students, which can include hiring teachers and other education professionals).  Educator, House Majority Leader Stapleton Williams, sponsored the At-Risk funding increase as well as HB 62a, the mentorship program that would fund $2,000 in stipends for mentor teachers across New Mexico. Early in the week, the House of Representatives voted 64-0 to approve this bill. Representatives Sariñana and Garrett, also educators, sponsored HB 92, a bill that provides fiscal support for Teacher Residency programs to provide second-career educators with $20,000 while benefiting from an otherwise unpaid teacher residency in order to fully prepare them for becoming fully licensed educators. 

This week also confirmed the unanimous nomination of Dr. Ryan Stewart as New Mexico’s Secretary of Education by both the Senate Rules Committee and full Senate. NEA-NM supports Dr. Stewart’s confirmation because he brings a fresh vision of what needs to be done for our public schools and students. He brings experience and heart to the mission that every child regardless of zip code deserves a quality public education.

Tracking the Governor’s Cradle to Career Promise

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s promised to invest in early career education all the way to higher education. Some of her signature bills passed both the Senate and House committees. HB 14 appropriates $35 million to start a new financial aid program called the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, which would pay tuition and fee costs for students who attend public colleges. SB 323, the duplicate bill of HB 14 also cleared the Senate Education Committee this week. 

Further, the House Education Committee cleared HB 197 which appropriates $1 million to the Early Childhood Education and Care Department to contract for consulting and outreach development for a demonstration project to establish and support quality, licensed early childhood education programs in rural communities throughout New Mexico.

Investing and Expanding Student Programs

NEA-NM is committed to the principal that all students need the opportunity to learn and perform to their full potential and all student support programs should educate the whole child. For this reason, we support our legislators who gave a “Do Pass” to SB 263 which increases the cost differential used to calculate program units for elementary fine arts education programs from 0.05 to 0.06; HB 296 appropriates $250 thousand for pre-college after-school and summer enrichment programs that prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics;HB 224 appropriates $4 million to provide a statewide literacy program for children and adults, and for literacy professional development.

Social and Racial Justice for our Students

Both the NEA and NEA-NM care about addressing institutional racism, especially in education because we care about children. We also care about justice, equity, and opportunity. We applaud our legislators in the Senate Public Affairs Committee that voted in favor of SB 90. The bill requires state agencies and entities receiving state funding to develop and implement policies to decrease institutional racism. In addition, the committee cleared SB 130 a bill that requires school districts to award credit to transfer students who have experienced a disruption in education for any work the student completed prior to the transfer.

The House Education Committee also passed several bills focused on Native American Students, a student group that was named in the historic landmark Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit decision. Representatives passed HB 363 which directs the Four Corners Regional Educational Cooperative to employ one or more Navajo education liaisons to work with its member school districts in developing and implementing culturally and linguistically relevant education to Navajo students; HB 136 establishes an American Indian college readiness program; HB 139 appropriates $950 thousand for the Pueblo of Zuni for education-related improvements; and HB 140 appropriates $950 thousand for the Mescalero Apache Tribe for education-related improvements.

Representatives also cleared HB 221, a bill that appropriates $2.6 million to ensure that services provided by Regional Education Cooperatives are culturally and linguistically responsive. 

Ending the Teacher Shortage Crisis

Aside from HB 62a  the mentorship program bill and HB 92, the Teacher Residency program bill passed by the Senate Education Committee on Friday, the Senate floor voted to pass SB 111, sponsored by Senator Mimi Stewart. NEA-NM supports the changes in SB 111 because it exempts substitutes employed on a day-to-day basis from coverage under the Educational Retirement Act amid the teacher shortage crisis and the low pay substitutes earn. This is a big win for our students and retiree members amid the teacher shortage crisis.

Building Higher Education

NEA-NM calls for fully restoring Higher Education funding and we are happy to inform our members that the Senate Education Committee delivered this week by voting in favor of; SB 239 which appropriates $75 thousand to New Mexico Highlands University to convene educators, acequia and land grant stakeholders and youth to study and develop recommendations for curriculum and teacher development that will support the integration of acequias and land grants into multicultural education in New Mexico public schools;SB 241 which appropriates $8.4 million to ENMU ($7,985.0) and to WNMU ($382.0) for instruction and general operations funding; and SB 226, which appropriates $1 million to researchers at the state’s colleges and universities with matching funds required for grants they will pursue.

Also, another bill worthy of mention that cleared the Senate Education Committee and provides protection to our college students is CS/HB 17, a bill which requires private post-secondary institutions is to disclose the “average” combined loan debt for federal loans and the “average” earnings at ten years.

February 8, 2020

On the Education Radar

Interesting fact: 874 bills have been introduced in the Second Session of the 54th Legislature

The 3rd legislative week wraps-up with plenty of good and some not so good for our public schools and students. To put things into perspective, at least on the House side, let’s start with HB 2, the House budget bill. This bill provides an outlook of what is to come for the following school year. Regarding salaries, HB 2 provides an average 5% pay raise for teachers and 4% for all other school employees. NEA-NM members understand that this is not enough to eradicate the damage done to educator pay under the past administration. NEA-NM keeps a close eye on legislation impacting school employees’ salaries. NEA-NM and Speaker of the House Brian Egolf are calling for a 10% pay raise for all school employees plus reduction of employee share of health insurance and minimum $15 per hour minimum wage for all education employees. We need your support to influence the Senate that they can do better.

HB 2 as well as the House Appropriation and Finance Committee (HAFC) hold the power of the purse in determining what bills will be funded or not. For that reason, let’s look at what bills cleared the HAFC on Friday.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s top priority bill, HB 83/a, the financial cornerstone of her cradle to career education philosophy program got a “Do Pass” from members of the HAFC.  The bill creates a new fund, a funding source to create a long-term  funding source for early childhood and care services and programs. The bill appropriates $320 million to earn investment returns to start flowing to services in FY 21 and subsequent fiscal years.

In response to Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit concerning At-Risk students, HB 59, received a “Do Pass” as well. The bill will increase the multiplier used to calculate the At-Risk index in the state equalization guarantee (SEG) distribution from 0.25 in FY20 to 0.30 in FY21 and for subsequent years and appropriates $50.5 million to the SEG.

HB 4, the bill that attempts to correct the inequities in capital outlay distribution as a result of the Zuni lawsuit, also passed the HAFC. The bill clarifies only Impact Aid payments included in the calculation of state equalization guarantee (SEG) credits would be used to calculate the annual award amounts to school districts or state-chartered charter schools that receive federal Impact Aid funds.

And last but not least, HB 102 also got a “Do Pass” from the HAFC. This bill allows the PED to provide a scholarship award to teachers seeking National Board Certification, an effort that NEA-NM also supports with our Jump Start program.

Plenty of pro-education bills passed this week which align with our vision of creating a quality public school education for every student, regardless of zip code.

Combating Student Hunger and Building Community

NEA-NM applauds all efforts to eradicate student hunger. Educators are aware that students that come to school hungry can’t learn and can’t focus on school. For this reason, we applaud the members of the House Education Committee for giving a unanimous “Do Pass”  to HB 10.  The bill creates a new section of the Public School Code to eliminate student copayments for reduced-fee meals and makes an appropriation to the PED to cover the cost of eliminating reduced-fee co-payments for public school meal programs.

Advocating for our communities and our students’ families is a priority for NEA-NM. HB 148, favors our working families and school employees. The bill increases the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) from 17 percent to 20 percent of the corresponding federal earned income tax credit (EITC) and increases the WFTC to 30 percent for taxpayers claiming a qualifying child under the age of six, and adding eligibility for the WFTC to those age 18-24. The bill was heard in the House Labor, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Tuesday and received a “Do Pass”.

Also, noteworthy in building community is HB 162. This bill provides resources to establish community-based course internships with service organizations and community partnerships through specific core course activities in the southwest area of Albuquerque.

Ending the Educator Shortage Crisis

Amid the teacher shortage crisis, Senators gave a “Do Pass” to SB 111. A big thank you to all our NEA-NM retiree members that responded to our alert action in support of this bill. School employees substitutes are in high demand and this bill corrects a wrong in favor of our students.

Legislators also cleared HB 92, which establishes teacher residency programs in partnership with a school district and creates a $5 million fund. New Mexico institutions of higher education and tribal colleges can apply. In addition,  SB 213 appropriates $10 million to spend on public school teacher professional development. SB 213 leaves the type and content of professional development unrestricted but defines the target; teachers. Another financial boost for student teachers is SB 199, a bill for Greyhound Promise teacher preparation scholarships at Eastern New Mexico University.

Building Student Programs

Both the House and Senate Education Committee passed a number of bills focused on early education all the way to career opportunities. 

Representatives passed HB 197, a bill that  appropriates $1 million to the Early Childhood Education and Care Department to contract for consulting and outreach development for a demonstration project to establish and support quality, licensed early childhood education programs in rural communities throughout New Mexico, and HB 198 that appropriates $1 million to the board of regents of Western New Mexico University to provide funding for an early childhood education center of excellence program.

HB 150 appropriates $200 thousand for Bernalillo County to contract with an organization to provide extended learning and mentoring out-of-school enrichment programs, and HB 298 would appropriate $4.5 million to the Public Education Department to contract with an organization to provide evidence-based K-12 college and career readiness systems known as AVIDHB 298 would require the college and career readiness systems to successfully serve low-income, Hispanic, Native American, and other generationally underserved students.

Senators passed SB 188, which appropriates $$50 thousand from the general fund to the University of New Mexico Valencia Branch (UNMV) for a career development program to inform local high school students of local career opportunities, develop career-based teaching strategies and create networking opportunities between students and local employers. SB 188 appropriates $50 thousand to the University of New Mexico Valencia Branch for a career development program to inform local high school students of local career opportunities, develop career-based teaching strategies and create networking opportunities between students and local employers. Amended. Finally, SB 183 would be the first direct allocation of state funds to the non-profit Jobs for America’s Graduates-New Mexico (JAG-NM) expand to between five and seven additional schools.

Building Higher Education

In order to promote racial and cultural justice for students in our institutions of higher education, student programs must be reflective of the history and diversity of cultures in New Mexico. We support the HEC giving a “Do Pass” to HB 161, a bill that appropriates $200 thousand to the University of New Mexico for the Chicano and Chicana Studies Department; HB 171 appropriates $250 thousand from the general fund to the Board of Regents of the University of New Mexico providing stipends for student internships in the Chicano and Chicana Studies Department, and HB188 appropriates $150 thousand Western New Mexico State University for the purpose of operation and support of an international student exchange program for indigenous students.

Other bills aimed at building higher education that cleared the SEC are SB 225 that appropriates $7 million to the higher education department (HED) for the purpose of funding scholarships for adults who attend community college; SB 129 appropriates $240 thousand to the University of New Mexico for the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute; SB 211 appropriates $200 thousand to the Higher Education Department for the small business development program at Santa Fe Community College, and SB 222  creates a grant program within the Higher Education Department to provide grants to state institutions of higher education to develop a pre-service teacher computer science education program and identify partnership opportunities between school districts and colleges of higher education.

Securing our Schools from Violence

Aside from the Senate passing SB 5, also known as the “Red Flag” legislation this week, another bill addressing gun violence in our schools and resulting from the fatal shooting at Aztec High School in 2017 passed the SEC. The bill SB 202 would require certified law enforcement officers to complete a training prior to employment as a School Resource Officer (SRO) and the training must be approved by the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy in consultation with the PED.

Stay tuned in and remember to Educate, Advocate and Agitate for our students and public schools!

February 1, 2020

Though this week brought guns and cannabis into the forefront for debate during the legislative session, pro-education bills passed both House and Senate Committees. These pro-education bills still must overcome additional hurdles before becoming law but at least they survived their first public test.

The second week of the 30-day legislative session started out well for public schools and our students. Early childhood education was favored as House Joint Resolution 1(HJR 1) and SB 3 cleared House committees. HJR 1 would go to the voters for final approval while SB 3 must clear some additional legislative hurdles before becoming law.

 

Social and Racial Justice for our Students

Several important bills aimed at NEA-NM’s goal of advancing social and racial justice for our students passed the House and Senate Education Committees.  HB 153 doubles the bilingual multicultural educational program units from .5 to 1. A structurally sound bill that will add $36 million to the SEG distribution formula. HB 59 would increase the at-risk index in SEG distribution from .25 to .30. Total appropriation $50.5 million. HB 138 appropriates $16.2 million to the Indian Affairs Department and ​support Tribal Education Departments to develop and implement a series of culturally and linguistically relevant education programs. HB 199 creates a biliteracy framework working group to study successful national and state-wide biliteracy models. HB 127 makes an appropriation and requires the PED to convene a task force to conduct an Asset Mapping and Gap Analysis of public-school students’ access to social services throughout the state. HB 236 eliminates minimum and maximum limitations on grant funding for community schools. SB 28 appropriates $440 thousand to support a partnership program engaging Latino communities for education. SB 35 appropriates $6 million for the Anna, Age Eight Institute (data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment). SB 47 appropriates $500 thousand for mentoring and tutoring services before and after school.

 

Ensuring Equitable Student Opportunity

All students need the opportunity to learn and perform to their full potential. NEA-NM has fought hard to provide and maintain support programs to educate the whole child while increasing academic success. For this reason, we salute legislators in the House Education Committee for passing HB 70. This bill enhances the “Best Buddies” programs in middle schools and high schools that are directed at fostering one-to-one friendships between students with and students without intellectual and developmental disabilities and promoting inclusion in school environments. In addition, HB 112 funds with $1 million for after-school and summer enrichment programs. HB 239 increases the number of fine arts education program units from .05 to .06.  SB 21 appropriates $1 million to the PED for the development and support of robotic teams in middle schools and high schools. SB 48 allocates $800 thousands towards dance programs in public school for low-income, at risk youth.

 

Tackling the Teacher Shortage Crisis

Legislators passed a couple of important bills that address the teacher shortage crisis head-on. NEA-NM has organized tirelessly to support our new and early career educators. For years we have called for a fully funded state mandated mentorship program for beginning teachers. And we have good news! This week, House Bill 62 received a “Do Pass” in the House Education Committee. This bill appropriates $6.2 million to the beginning teacher mentorship fund. The appropriation is enough to cover all current level 1 teachers throughout the state. We need to keep a close eye on HB 62 as makes its way through both chambers.

NEA-NM has been calling for programs and incentives to retain our seasoned teachers as well. We applaud our legislators in the House Education Committee as they gave HB 102 a “Do Pass”. The bill provides scholarships so teachers seeking national certification have their fees covered.

 

Building Higher Education

NEA-NM has made repeated calls to fully restore funding for Higher Education student-center programs, and no more cuts made.  Members of the Senate and House Education committees this week made some positive strides towards this goal.

We applaud members of the Senate Education committee for giving a “Do pass” for SB 14 to support the Project Echo Program with an additional $1 million and, SB 37 for funding public post-secondary educational institutions to offset costs incurred in waiving tuition for high school students in the state’s dual credit program.

The House Education Committee gets a thumbs up from NEA-NM as they passed HB 52 a bill that appropriates $900 thousand for the purpose of funding multicultural programs (i.e., Africana Studies, Chicana or Chicano Studies, Native American Studies); HB 58 that funds Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) with $300 thousand to manage and conduct statewide play shops for students in third grade through 12th grade to learn, design, build, program and test payload delivering, firefighting, or other autonomous robot challenges that culminate in an international collaborative robotics program held annually in New Mexico; HB 63 appropriates $4 million to the University of New Mexico (UNM) for the student affairs department to develop an online learning program to teach soft skills to middle and high school students; HB 69 creates a pilot program to reduce college hunger and; HB 119 funds with $160 thousand an internship program for engineering students.

 

Sustaining Collective Bargaining

Students gain a lifelong love of learning when their educators have a significant role in educational and professional decisions and workplace conditions. For this reason, we congratulate the members of the Senate Public Affairs Committee for passing SB 110 that will strengthen the New Mexico’s Public Employees Bargaining Act (PEBA) with the following substantial changes: Concerted activity protection, labor board restructuring, fair elections, misuse of public funds, dues deduction reform,  bargaining protection and, duty of fair representation.

SATURDAY,  JANUARY 25 

THIS WEEK ON THE EDUCATION RADAR 

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham highlights education as one of her priorities for the entire state this year. She promoted a positive, forward-looking vision of making great strides to improve student success in our state, but only proposes a 4% raise for school employees and we still hope she will support HB84, the bill to make health care more affordable for school employees, and many other bills such as those listed below for immediate consideration Monday by legislative committees.
  

THE DEBATE OVER SALARY PROPOSALS 

(1) NEA-NM: 10% plus reduction of employee share of health insurance and minimum $15 per hour minimum wage for all education employees.

(2) Speaker Brian Egolf: 10%. 

(3) Legislative Finance Committee formal budget: 3% and not yet any money in the budget for help with health insurance. 

(4) Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham: 4%, without yet supporting our call to decrease the employee portion of health care.

CALL TO ACTION: Please call or email these members of the House Appropriations Committee tell them we deserve a 10% plus reduction of employee share of health insurance and minimum $15 per hour minimum wage for all education employees.

Representative G. Andrés Romero
Home: (505) 514-9574
Office: 986-4846
andres.romero@nmlegis.gov

Representative Alonzo Baldonado
Office: 986-4243
alonzo.baldonado@nmlegis.gov

Representative Jack Chatfield
Work: (575) 673-2320
Office: 986-4467
jackchd67@gmail.com

Representative Rebecca Dow
Work: (575) 342-1302
Home: (575) 571-1056
Office: 986-4453
rebecca.dow@nmlegis.gov

Representative Natalie Figueroa
Home: (505) 514-4758
Office: 986-4255
natalie.figueroa@nmlegis.gov

Representative David M. Gallegos
Home: (575) 394-0099
Office: 986-4454
david.rsi@hotmail.com

Representative Joy Garratt
Home: (505) 977-5039
Office: 986-4245
joy.garratt@nmlegis.gov

Representative Raymundo Lara
Work: (575) 882-6200
Office: 986-4254
raymundo.lara@nmlegis.gov

Representative Willie D. Madrid
Home: (915) 204-9056
Office: 986-4436
willie.madrid@nmlegis.gov

Representative Tomás E. Salazar
Home: (575) 421-2455
Office: 986-4236
tomas.salazar@nmlegis.gov

Representative Debra M. Sariñana
Work: (505) 559-2200
Home: (505) 974-9408
Office: 986-4227
debbie.sarinana@nmlegis.gov

Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton
Home: (505) 265-6089
Office: 986-4780
sheryl.stapleton@nmlegis.gov

Representative Christine Trujillo
Work: (505) 235-8783
Office: 986-4435
christine.trujillo@nmlegis.gov

Representative Linda M. Trujillo
Home: (505) 795-4324
Office: 986-4436
linda.trujillo@nmlegis.gov

The Governor’s message about public education spending mixes in Early Childhood and Higher Education into the picture. The “cradle to career” approach is truly needed for our state as a whole to prosper.   However, the messaging downplays the reality that our K-12 students need so much more support today, and tomorrow, as well as in the long term.  Our lobbyist helping our staff/leadership lobby team, also serves the Transform Education New Mexico Coalition (of which we are a member) and he spoke at length on education and the legislature at https://portal.knme.org/video/january-24-2020-s13e30-mzm0rc/  (his comments start at 32 minutes into the program, but the whole program is informative).  

  

LEGISLATIVE ACTION TO DATE

The State House Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted on Friday in favor of House Joint Resolution 1, sponsored by Rep. Antonio Maestas, District 16 and Rep. Javier Martinez, District 11. 

HJR 1 provides a much bigger boost for early childhood than does any other proposal, and it would be permanent. One percent distributions from the fund would be used for early childhood educational services. Under current law, annual distributions from the fund are 5 percent of its five-year average value, and for K-12 only. The legislation needs voter approval in a general election.  Proposed multiple times in previous years, it fails repeatedly due to opposition by the Senate Finance Committee chair, John Arthur Smith.

 

ON THE EDUCATION RADAR FOR MONDAY

House Education Committee, 8:00 a.m. in Room 309 

House Bill 127 calls to convene a task force, staffed by P.E.D. to conduct a Social and Health Services Asset Mapping and Gap Analysis of public-school students’ access to social and services throughout the state, providing critical information needed to close the gaps between our student’s needs and the services our schools are funded to provide.  Sponsor: Rep. Raymundo Lara(educator), District 34. 

House Memorial 12 requests the Secretary of PED to convene a working group to share best practices for implementing school programs that support cultural diversity and bilingual education. Sponsor: Rep. Joy Garratt(teacher), District 29.
NEA-NM Stance: Support. 

 

House Bill 153 doubles the bilingual multicultural educational program units from .5 to 1 effective July 1, 2020. Have a Bilingual or TESL endorsement your District provides no stipend for? This bill provides funds which can be used for, among other things, to incentivize more educators to obtain certification, and to therefore be better prepared to successfully educator our diverse students.  Sponsor: Rep. Joy Garratt(teacher), District 29.
NEA-NM Stance: Support.

  

House Bill 62 calls for state funding of $2,000 per mentor stipends for much-needed teacher mentorship programs for our beginning teachers. This will help retain newer teachers, easing the Teacher Shortage somewhat. Sponsors: Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, District 19, House Education Chair Rep. G. Andres Romero, District 10, Rep. Willie D. Madrid, District 53 and Rep. Joy Garratt, District 29: all great educators.
NEA-NM Stance: Support.

 

House Bill 17 requires private post-secondary institutes an estimated cost of attending the student’s program., for the purpose of reducing fraud.  It requires these private post-secondary institutes to be transparent about tuition and fees.  Sponsors: Christine Chandler, District 43, and Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics, District 39.  
NEA-NM Stance: Support. 

Senate Education Committee, 8:30 a.m. in Room 311

Senate Bill 3 proposes to create a new trust fund for early childhood education, by using $320,000 of this year’s budget into a new trust, that will start disbursing an estimated $20 million annually in four years.  Sponsors: Majority Whip Rep. Doreen Gallegos, District 52 and Sen. John Arthur Smith, District 35. Support, while emphasizing the current unmet needs of today’s students, both in early childhood and K-12. 

Senate Bill 15 and 28 appropriates $440,000 to Higher Education to support a partnership program engaging Latino communities for education. Sponsor by Sen. Michael Padilla, District 14.
NEA-NM Stance: Support.

 

Senate Bill 21 appropriates $1,000,000 to the PED for the development and support of robotic teams in middle schools and high schools. Sponsors: Sen. Bill Tallman, District 18 and Rep. Debra M. Sariñana, District 21.  
NEA-NM Stance: Support.

  

Senate Bill 14 appropriates $1,000,000 from the General Fund to support the Project Echo Program, providing students and educators in small schools and districts with access to many more educational resources.  Sponsor: Sen. Michael Padilla, District 14.
NEA-NM Stance: Support.

  

Senate Bill 13 increases minimum salaries for SPED teachers by 15% more than other teachers (at all levels).  Sponsor: Sen. Michael Padilla, District 14.
NEA-NM Stance: Oppose.
Why? Because NEA-NM supports our SPED teachers! SPED programs throughout our state are not adequately funded and all teachers deserve a pay raise of 10%, not one favoring one group of teachers over others. Many options exist for incentivizing educators to fill hard-to-fill positions.  

 

Senate Bill 7 requests an appropriation of $1,000,000 from the General Fund for the Western New Mexico University to provide for funding for a center of excellence program for early childhood education. Sponsors: by Sen. Gabriel Ramos, District 28 and Rep. Rebecca Dow, District 38.
NEA-NM Stance: Support.

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