By Robert Nott, Santa Fe New Mexican
Jan. 21, 2022

Advocates for New Mexicans who know little to no English say a bill passed by a committee Friday is needed to help such residents access medical aid, child welfare services and other resources.

Lawmakers on the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs committee approved House Bill 22 on a 6-3 vote. It now heads to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.

The legislation provides a one-time appropriation of $50,000 to the state Department of Finance and Administration. The money is aimed at helping state agencies assess whether they need to implement departmental language access plans to ensure people with limited English skills can access their services.

Sen. Antionette Sedillo-Lopez, D-Albuquerque, one of the sponsors of the bill, said it will help ensure New Mexico complies with federal language-access laws. She said that when she asks state departments to provide a copy of their language-access plan, they always say they will give her one.

“I have not received a single one,” Sedillo-Lopez said.

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