Martinez Vetoes Bill To Prevent State From Penalizing Teachers For Using Sick Leave

Mar 9, 2017

Credit Stephanie Ly-AFT NM President / aft photo

  Commentary: Santa Fe – American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President, Stephanie Ly, released the following statement:

“Education policy changes in New Mexico have been highly partisan in recent years, and little common ground has been found, however, House Bill 241 – sponsored by Sen. Craig Brandt, Rep. Jason Harper, and twelve other lawmakers – was a bill that bridged the partisan gap.

“HB 241 would have allowed New Mexico’s educators to have the dignity of staying home when they are sick, the ability to care for a sick child or family member, or have the freedom to use leave that is afforded to them under their contract. Instead, Governor Martinez chose to veto this common-sense bill, and stated it was because a separate, unrelated pet project had failed to advance beyond its first committee hearing. Plain and simple, this Governor lacks basic human compassion for others.

“Sadly, New Mexico educators have, once again, been told they are less than valued in New Mexico, and the Governor’s veto tells educational employees their personal worth and dignity is meaningless. Governor Martinez has again chosen petty politics over good policy. We call on all legislators to stand for New Mexico’s educators and override this veto immediately.”

Other reactions to the veto of HB 241:

Sponsor of HB 241, Sen. Craig Brandt, “It’s hard to believe the Governor truly cares for teachers when she chooses to veto a bill like this. I plan to pursue a veto override on this action.”

Current classroom teacher, Rep. Debbie Sariñana, “This veto is detrimental for all New Mexico educators, and it is just another example of this Governor playing political games at the expense of our children and schools.”

House Majority Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, “Having teachers penalized for using their contractually-allowed absences is blatantly unfair and sends the wrong message to our hard-working educators across the State.”