- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Susana Martinez’s State of the State address (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

New Mexico Democrats say they will resist efforts by Gov. Susana Martinez to balance the state’s budget by cutting teachers’ salaries.

Sen. Joseph Cervantes said Tuesday the Republican governor’s proposal to force teachers to pay more into the pension system was “against New Mexican” values and vowed Democrats would fight it.

The Las Cruces Democrat also faulted Martinez for failing to mention child and rural poverty in her State of the State speech. New Mexico ranks at the bottom nationally on both.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth said after the Senate and House tackle the budget, both chambers will present a jobs package to help the state’s struggling economy.

Cervantes promised that Democrats would halt the governor’s plan to end social promotion for 3rd graders who aren’t proficient in reading.


2:40 p.m.

Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico is seeing record improvements in its graduation rates but more needs to be done to ensure the state’s students are better prepared at a younger age.

The Republican governor used her State of the State address on Tuesday to resume the push against so-called social promotion, when third-grade students are passed on to the next grade even though they can’t read at grade level.

The Public Education Department released data earlier this month that shows 6,815 students in third grade during the last school year did not attain proficiency in reading and that more than 95 percent of those students moved on to fourth grade in the fall.

New Mexico is one of eight states that allow for retention but do not require it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sixteen states require students to repeat the grade if they lack reading proficiency by the end of third grade.


2:20 p.m.

Gov. Susana Martinez says education, the economy and fighting crime are all connected and New Mexico lawmakers can’t afford to ignore any one of them.

The Republican governor in her State of the State address on Tuesday pointed to child well-being efforts started last year but noted that the hardest days as governor are those when a child is killed.

Martinez cited the names of children slain in a number for brutal cases over the past year.

She told lawmakers New Mexico shouldn’t tolerate the murder or abuse of children and asked for the death penalty to be reinstated in limited circumstances. She also asked that penalties be increased for those convicted of preying on children.

Martinez also reiterated her request for a crackdown on drunken driving.


2:10 p.m.

Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico is weathering declines in the oil and natural gas sector much better than other states, but she acknowledges there are major challenges that lawmakers face during the 60-day session.

In her State of the State address Tuesday, she called for a bipartisan approach to fill a budget gap and asked the Legislature not to take the easy way out.

She says there’s a way forward without raising taxes, pointing to the elimination of tax loopholes, keeping government small and the sweeping of money from idle accounts.

Martinez also pleaded with lawmakers not to gut economic incentive programs, saying new companies such as Facebook have chosen to move to New Mexico.


2 p.m.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is delivering her seventh State of the State address in Santa Fe as lawmakers convene to resolve a budget crisis and consider other policy initiatives.

Martinez wants lawmakers to tackle a budget deficit without raising taxes.

Policy initiatives for public safety, education and economic development also are on the governor’s wish-list for the 60-day legislative session.

The second-term GOP governor and leading lawmakers agree that agency spending cuts enacted in October will need to be extended into the next fiscal year, while preserving funding for public safety agencies and the Children, Youth and Families Department.

Political divisions already have emerged on Martinez’s proposals to tap school district reserves and make pension contribution changes affecting teachers and state workers to shore up the general fund.

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