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Foster care bill blocked by House panel

The Roundhouse has been fenced off and posted with "No Trespassing" signs since the start of the 2021 legislative session. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

The Roundhouse has been fenced off and posted with “No Trespassing” signs since the start of the 2021 legislative session. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — A proposal intended to ensure children taken into protective custody aren’t forced to sleep on the floor or couch of a state office — or sent to an out-of-state facility — failed to advance through a key House committee Friday.

The bipartisan legislation, House Bill 202, was aimed at putting into law parts of a settlement agreement reached between the state and attorneys for foster children.

But representatives of two state agencies said Friday that while they are already committed to limiting when children end up in a state office temporarily or go out of state, it’s premature to put the settlement into law.

Instead, they suggested waiting until a future session to codify the settlement because they’re still working out some of the implementation details.

A motion to pass the bill failed on a 5-6 vote in the House Judiciary Committee. The lack of passage keeps the bill in committee for now, preventing it from advancing to the full House for consideration.

“It does seem to me that maybe we are inserting ourselves into this matter a little prematurely,” said Rep. Greg Nibert, a Roswell Republican who voted against the bill.


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