The Senate Finance Committee approved an amended version of a bill to allocate some of the American Rescue Plan Act immediately to various agencies.

The amendment to HB 2, which passed unanimously, removed $26 million appropriated for broadband and reduced the overall funding package to about $478 million.

The vote of approval for the amended bill was unanimous and bipartisan. State Sens. Jacob Candelaria, I-Albuquerque, and Bobby Gonzales, D-Ranchos de Taos, were absent. Candelaria has been excused from the rest of the special session, by his request. Gonzales tested positive for COVID-19 and was also excused.

An additional $123 million is still planned for the Department of Information and Technology to pay for the expansion of broadband across the state.

State Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, also successfully amended the bill, moving $2 million previously intended to help pay for teacher certification scholarships to, instead, be used for teacher loan repayments. Muñoz said the Public Education Department requested the change.

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