Lottery scholarship fix heads to governor's desk

Posted at: 02/20/2014 12:15 PM
Updated at: 02/20/2014 12:29 PM
By: staff

A proposal to shore up New Mexico's lottery scholarship reached the governor's desk with just minutes to spare on the last day of the Legislative Session.

The legislature already approved $11 million from the state's general fund to cover the scholarship in the current spring semester, but the proposed legislation would provide a more permanent fix for the scholarship's dwindling funds.

Lawmakers said the rising cost of tuition paired with flat lottery ticket sales put the program at risk of running out of money.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a plan that would help finance the program with funds from the state liquor tax. The bill would also cut the number of semesters students would be eligible to receive the scholarship from eight to seven.

However, the House passed an amended bill today with just an hour left of the Legislative Session.

The amended bill went back to the Senate. Lawmakers agreed to the last-minute changes and the bill now heads to Gov. Susana Martinez for final approval.

Currently, about 14,000 New Mexico college students depend on the lottery scholarships and more than 80,000 have been recipients of the scholarship since the program started back in 1996.

This is a developing story, stick with for updates.