As an elected member of the Legislature, one of my primary responsibilities is to provide New Mexicans the most effective programs government can deliver. As leaders, we have the responsibility of funding effective services – child welfare programs, drug and alcohol interventions, rehabilitation classes – that can improve the lives of our constituents and communities. But all too often, legislators do not have the data available to make informed decisions on programs.
Earlier this year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into a law a measure to ensure programs funded by the state will deliver results for New Mexico.
Senate Bill 58 – Evidence and Research Based Funding Requests Act – has a complicated name but a simple purpose: the new law requires state agencies to indicate how much of the funding they’re requesting will be spent on “evidence-based” programs, or programs that have research and data indicated as effective. The law requires agencies to prioritize evidence-based programs when possible and directs the state Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) to work with the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) to help agencies implement this new directive.
For years, New Mexico has been a national leader in using evidence in our policymaking process. Since 2013, the state has appropriated $350 million to evidence-based programs; likewise, the state has shifted funds away from programs that the analysis deemed to be ineffective, freeing up state resources for programs that are better able to serve our residents.
This new law enables us to serve the state even better. By embedding the use of evidence in the state’s budgeting process, and by creating a pathway for collaboration between the legislative and executive branches, we are moving the state toward a culture of evidence-driven funding that prioritizes what is most important: positive outcomes for New Mexicans.
Sen. Sander Rue represents the 23rd District, which includes Bernalillo County. He sponsored Senate Bill 58, Evidence and Research Based Funding Requirements.