Here’s a look at today’s headlines:

Officials from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (UANL) in Monterrey, Mexico, recently visited the Western New Mexico University campus looking for opportunities to create exchanges with faculty and students.  The discussion focused on programs emphasizing physical activity and exercise. Dr. Miguel Narvaez, professor of Kinesiology facilitated the visit.

The New Mexico Department of Health announced today the final rules outlining the duties and responsibilities of the Health Information System (HIS) Act Advisory Committee have been published in the New Mexico Register (volume XXVII, Issue #3, publication date: February 12, 2016). Pursuant to the rules, the first advisory committee meeting will occur on March 18th, 2016 at 2:00pm in the Piñon Room at the State Library Building in Santa Fe.

In legislative action: legislation to give judges access to the full criminal histories of violent repeat offenders is one step closer to becoming law.  House Bill 72, also known as “Jaydon’s Law,” is sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry. The bill is named for Jaydon Chavez-Silver, an Albuquerque teen who was killed during a drive-by shooting while at a house party. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today on a vote of 9-1.

The Senate Finance Committee today accepted a large number of amendments to the state budget bill, HB2, rejecting most of the 275 amendments submitted for increases over the version passed by the House. Charles Bowyer, NEA-New Mexico Executive Director, says “we appreciate that the Senate Finance Committee increased total categorical spending for education by 0.3 percent and protected public school support as much as possible in this very tough year.”

Today, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would allow mothers to terminate the parental rights of a biological father when the pregnancy is the result of rape. House Bill 50 is sponsored by Rep. Conrad James and passed on a unanimous 58 to 0 vote.

The House of Representatives passed legislation to enhance protections for New Mexico students. House Bill 127 passed by a vote of 59 to 2.  The bill would require all school district employees, regardless of their position, to pass a background check. The proposal would close a loophole that exempts school employees who have worked continuously in the same district prior to 1998 from receiving background checks. The proposal by Adkins would make it mandatory for all new hires and current employees of school districts to pass a background check.

The House of Representatives passed legislation to ensure all New Mexico students attend class. House Bill 240 is sponsored by Reps. Jimmie Hall and James Townsend, and it passed by a vote of 33 to 25. The bill would establish programs to prevent truancy. It would require school districts and charter schools to implement an early warning system that would identify students who are either habitually truant or at risk of dropping out. The early warning system would notify parents when their student has three or more absences. When a student has tallied five or more absences, a truancy prevention team would be required to meet with at-risk students and their parents to develop an attendance plan.