Voters amend the state constitution

By Bradley Eversgerd

Three state constitutional amendments sailed to victory election night.

The most controversial one, an increase to funding for early childhood education, was passing by 70-30 Tuesday night, a margin similar to what polls had shown. 

Pending approval by Congress, the passage of Constitutional Amendment 1 means the state will provide millions more in funding to early childhood education, with enhanced instruction for students at risk of failure. 

The money will come from the Land Grant Permanent Fund, which is fed by royalties and fees on mining and oil and gas, grazing leases and other revenues from state lands.The change means withdrawals from the fund will increase by 1.5%,

Supporters argued the change would improve outcomes for children for generations by providing universal access to early childhood services. A 2020 report by legislation finance committee pre-kindergarten programs are the most effective measures to improve student educational outcomes.

Proponents argued the change would also provide benefits to taxpayers, savings resulted from lower crime and social program spending.

Opponents said the money was not needed because in 2020 a trust for early education was created and will distribute $30 million for early education every year.

A second amendment also passed. It authorizes the NM Legislature to provide funds for infrastructure for residential services, such as internet, electric, gas, water, and wastewater.

Finally, a third amendment, also approved by a wide margin, would provide that an appointed judge be up for election at the first general election one year after appointment.