- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Church in New Mexico is denouncing state lawmakers for failing to move a proposal that would have boosted spending on early childhood education.

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester says state senators should negotiate a compromise over a constitutional amendment to fund early childhood education with money from a state sovereign wealth fund. The Senate Rules Committee tabled the initiative Wednesday on a 6-5 vote, ending chances for approval this year.

Democratic Sens. Mary Kay Papen and Clemente Sanchez joined Republicans in opposition.

Wester says the initiative is needed to fight child poverty in New Mexico.

The vote came as the Democratic-controlled New Mexico Legislature faces criticism for not doing enough to combat poverty in one of the poorest states in the nation.

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