February 17, 2023

Bill to codify School-Based Health Centers clears first committee

The Senate Education Committee passed a bill that would codify School-Based Health Centers into law by 7-1.

SB 397 would, if enacted, codify the centers into New Mexico state statute. Bill sponsor state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, said School-Based Health Centers have never been codified into state statute. This bill would do that without changing any School-Based Health Care services.

The Senate Education Committee amended the bill to clean up some language.

State Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, said her biggest concern was that individual School-Based Health Centers “have the right to determine how those services be delivered.”

Rodriguez assured Kernan that the bill does not create a mandate for delivery of services. State Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, said he could not support the bill because “we continue to expand what teachers are responsible for and what school districts are responsible for.”

“I’m concerned with what we’re putting on the schools and administrators instead of keeping teachers focused on education,” he said.

The bill received bipartisan support with only Brandt voting against it.

The bill heads to the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee next.