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New Mexico Democrats tackle climate change, shun marijuana

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By MORGAN LEE and RUSSELL CONTRERAS Associated Press

SANTA FE (AP) — Legislators were negotiating agreements Friday to increase annual spending on public school education by a half-billion dollars after consummating New Mexico's version of a "Green New Deal" that aims for carbon-free electricity production within a generation.

The consequences of sweeping Democratic midterm election victories in New Mexico were coming into focus on the final full day of the state's annual legislative session.

Two successive annual budget surpluses in excess of $1 billion are allowing the Legislature to plot a major economic stimulus package and respond to a judge's order to boost resources to public education.

A bill dubbed the Energy Transition Act was awaiting the governor's signature to provide incentives for electric utility companies to close down a major coal-fired power plant and invest in solar arrays and wind turbines.

"So far so good," said House speaker Brian Egolf, who says fall elections gave Democrats a mandate to pursue campaign promises on education, economic development and progressive social policies. "We are now literally at the tip of the spear in moving toward renewables and carbon-free electricity."


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