Land Grant-Merced Assistance passes home with strong bipartisan support – Los Alamos Reporter
Pictured in the Legislative Assembly on Friday are, from left, Dr. Jacobo Baca, House Majority Leader Javier Martínez, Melvyn Apodaca, Arturo Archuleta, Rep. Andrea Romero, House Speaker Brian Egolf, Andrea Padilla, Steve Polaco, Rita Padilla Gutierrez, Rep Kristina Ortez, Jose Belarmino Archuleta. Courtesy picture
HOUSE OF DEMOCRATS PRESS RELEASE
Legislation to provide financial assistance to qualified land grant Mercedes across New Mexico passed the House today by a vote of 62 to 7 today. HB 8 would bring relief to families in rural land grant communities who still live largely traditional or agricultural lifestyles and continue to depend on land and acequias.
Land Grant-Mercedes are our nation’s oldest non-Native American institutions and have long given voice to traditional New Mexico cultures, but for more than a century have suffered economic hardship. HB 8 establishes the Mercedes Land Grant Assistance Fund, which would be administered by the Ministry of Finance and Administration
HB 8 is sponsored by Rep. McQueen, Chairman Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), and Reps. Kristina Ortez (D-Taos), Roger Montoya (D-Velarde), Susan Herrera (D-Embudo), Andrea Romero (D – Santa Fe), and Senators Elizabeth Stefanics (D-Cerrillos) and Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque).
Statement from Representative Matthew McQueen:
“This assistance will help these valuable rural and agricultural communities meet modern challenges to ensure their prosperity.
Speaker Brian Egolf:
“The continued well-being of our land grant communities is vital to the future of New Mexico. This bill would bring much-needed relief to these communities so that they can carry on their traditions for many generations.
Representative Kristina Ortez:
“We are doing something that should have been done a long time ago by providing resources to land grant communities across the state. Land grants reflect our state’s history and protect our lands, waters and natural resources.
Arturo Archuleta, Program Manager, Land Grant Council
“This legislation will provide stability to our land grant governing bodies, enabling them to better serve their communities and better protect the natural resources they manage.”
Andrea Padilla, President of the Town of Tome Land Grant
“This bill will help our land grant communities continue to meet the unmet needs of New Mexicans across our state.”
Steve Polaco, President of Merced de Los Pueblos de Tierra Amarilla:
“Land grants have long played a vital role in protecting our natural resources, including water. The Land Grant-Merced Assistance Fund will help protect these resources for future generations.
The Roundhouse is open to the public for the session. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required to enter the building. Members of the public can view floor sittings and committee meetings on the New Mexico Legislative Assembly Webcasts Tab, and provide feedback by phone or Zoom as indicated on the daily schedule.