The Latest: New Mexico preschool proposal clears hurdle

AP

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) The Latest on a proposal to tap New Mexico state investments to increase spending on early childhood education (all times local):

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11:40 a.m.

A New Mexico Senate committee has endorsed a proposal to boost early childhood education programs by tapping into a multibillion-dollar state investment fund.

The Senate is considering a constitutional amendment approved by the House that would increase distributions from a $17 billion sovereign wealth fund to expand preschool, daycare and home visits by social workers with parents of infants and toddlers.

The Senate Education Committee recommended approval Friday with Democrats in support on a 5-3 party-line vote. It moves next to the Senate Finance Committee where it could encounter opposition from fiscally conservative Democrats.

Opponents of the proposal include GOP Gov. Susana Martinez and Libertarian State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, whose agency channels earnings from oil, gas and mineral leases to the Land Grant Permanent Fund. Approval by the Senate would set up a statewide vote in November. The governor's signature is not required.

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3:00 a.m.

Members of the New Mexico state Senate are bracing for a heated debate about whether to increase funding for early childhood education by distributing more money from a multibillion dollar sovereign wealth fund.

An education committee meeting was moved on Friday to a larger venue on the Senate floor to provide room for a large audience.

The House has endorsed a constitutional amendment to increase annual distributions from the $17 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to early childhood education programs. If approved by the Senate, the measure would go to a general election vote in November.

Critics say the plan risks drawing too much money each year from a fund seen as a trust for future generations.

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