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NM outdoor recreation division bill approved by Senate

An angler lands a trout in the San Juan River near Navajo Dam in this 2011 file photo. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE — A bipartisan proposal to establish a new outdoor recreation division within a New Mexico state agency is headed to the House after passing the Senate on Monday.

Senators voted 38-0 to approve the measure, Senate Bill 462, which would set up the new division within the state Economic Development Department.

The proposal is backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who said Monday it could bolster the state’s economy and convince more young adults to move to New Mexico.

“When we create a focused office to both attract new businesses and boost existing concerns, we will plant our flag alongside Colorado, Montana, Utah and others — and indeed we have the potential to surpass them,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

The bill also includes a $1.6 million appropriation, with most of that money slated to be used in setting up the new division.

It’s sponsored by Sens. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, and Steve Neville, R-Aztec, and Reps. Nathan Small, D-Las Cruces, D. Wonda Johnson, D-Church Rock, and Angelica Rubio, D-Las Cruces.

While all senators present voted Monday in favor of the legislation, some questioned the need for the new division, saying the state already has a Game and Fish Department.

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