Albuquerque Journal

Gov. vetoes bill to study school dual credit programs

Sponsor says task force would have allowed for a ‘deep dive’ into issue


SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has struck down a bill passed without opposition by lawmakers that would have created a task force to study dual credit programs in New Mexico public schools.

The measure, House Bill 125, called for a task force featuring a mix of higher education officials, school superinten­dents and high school principals to meet over the coming months and provide recommenda­tions by next January.

But Lujan Grisham said in her veto message the bill was unnecessar­y since the state Public Education Department has already created a state dual credit council.

She also said the measure would have imposed an unfunded mandate, since it would have required that state and school officials appointed to the task force conduct a “major study” in a matter of months.

“This is too great a burden both financiall­y and in terms of expenditur­e of staff resources,” the governor wrote in her veto message.

But Rep. G. Andrés Romero, D-Albuquerqu­e, the bill’s sponsor, said the task force would have allowed for a “deep dive” into dual credit programs, which allow high school students to enroll in college courses and receive simultaneo­us credit toward high school graduation and a college degree.

“I’m disappoint­ed in the veto,” Romero said in a Friday interview.

“We have some real issues as far as dual credit in this state,” added Romero, who is a high school teacher at Atrisco Heritage Academy. “I was really hoping it was something we could get our hands around.”

Before being vetoed, the legislatio­n had passed the House on a 62-0 vote last month. It was then approved last week by the Senate on a 37-0 vote.

The veto is the first of this year’s session for Lujan Grisham, who had signed 20 bills passed by lawmakers going into Friday.

Per the state Constituti­on, the governor has until April 7 to act on any bills that arrive on her desk during the final three days of the legislativ­e session — or after the session ends.

Any bills that are not acted upon by that deadline are automatica­lly “pocket vetoed” and no explanatio­n is required for why they were not signed.

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