King Says Textbook Policy May Violate Constitution

New Mexico – Attorney General Gary King says there are potential constitutional problems with a New Mexico law that provides textbooks for private school students at taxpayer expense.

King said in a legal opinion released Tuesday that the law may violate the New Mexico Constitution's anti-donation clause, which bars the state from donating to private individuals or entities. The attorney general said the law also may run afoul of a constitutional provision prohibiting the use of public money to support private or religious schools.

State law provides for the free use of textbooks by students through grade 12 who are attending public and approved private schools.

The non-binding legal opinion was requested by Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, an Albuquerque Democrat and House Education Committee member.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.