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Breaking: House votes 53-16 to approve $5.9 billion budget

SANTA FE, N.M. — One of the biggest bills of the legislative session is on its way to the Senate, after House members voted 53-16 to approve a $5.9 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

After a nearly two-hour debate, a number of Democrats voted against the budget bill, due largely to concerns about public school spending concessions made to Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration.

Overall, the budget proposal would increase state spending by about $239 million — about 4.2 percent — from this year’s spending levels. It also includes a 1 percent salary increase for all state employees, including teachers, and a slightly larger pay hike for certain law enforcement officers (you can find more detailed information here).

Members of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee had voted 15-3 earlier this week to approve the budget proposal, which would increase state spending for the second straight year.

Under the state constitution, lawmakers are required to pass a balanced budget every year.

Check back later for updates.