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Teacher leave bill wins House approval

Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho

SANTA FE — The state House passed a bill 68-0 late Wednesday aimed at allowing teachers to take up to 10 days of sick leave a year without damaging their annual performance evaluations.

The proposal was part of the “rocket docket” of expedited bills that had won overwhelming bipartisan support in previous sessions only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican whose term ended Dec. 31.

Lawmakers are fast-tracking the bills this year to get them to the new governor, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.

House Bill 227, sponsored by Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, is now on its way to the Senate. If approved there, it would go to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The proposal was at the center of an intense struggle between Martinez and the Legislature two years ago. The Senate voted to override her veto, but the override effort failed in the House, as Republicans stuck with Martinez.

Harper on Wednesday called it the “Teachers Are Human, Too” bill — because teachers wouldn’t have to worry that taking sick leave they’re entitled to would harm them professionally.

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