Rep. Sweetser’s Bill to Expand Internet Access in Schools Signed into Law

Rep. Sweetser’s Bill to Expand Internet Access in Schools Signed into Law

Santa Fe – Today, a bill to expand internet access in schools and libraries across the state was signed into law by the Governor. HB 207, introduced by Representative Candie Sweetser (D-Deming), would appropriate money from the general fund for broadband infrastructure in public school, tribal, and community libraries.

“Too many communities, particularly those in rural areas, understand the difficulty of accessing the internet from home. This bipartisan legislation invests in broadband infrastructure so that all New Mexicans can have access to the internet in their schools and libraries, which is critical for New Mexicans to be able to succeed,” said Rep. Candie Sweetser. “I am glad Governor Martinez shares this same vision for our state’s libraries and signed this legislation.”

This legislation was a true grassroots effort, with the idea first suggested by Deming High School librarian, Teresa Ortiz, who chairs a statewide subcommittee aimed at helping school, public, and tribal libraries attain better broadband access for students and community members.

In New Mexico, the digital divide has the potential to constrain economic development. HB 207 is a bipartisan effort to close the gap, sponsored by Reps. Candie Sweetser (D-Deming), Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos), and James E. Smith (R-Sandia Park) with help from Senator John Arthur Smith (D-Deming).