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Politics
New Mexico governor to sign tribal collaboration bill


New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) will sign the State Tribal Collaboration Act into law today.

Richardson will be joined by tribal leaders at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque for the signing. The ceremony takes place at 11am.

The signing marks a quick turnaround for Senate Bill 196. It was introduced on February 6 -- the date of the New Mexico Legislature's 22nd American Indian Day.

“The State-Tribal Collaboration Act will further my commitment to Native Americans and provide greater consistency across all cabinet-level agencies in working with the 22 tribes, nations and pueblos in New Mexico, and will ensure productive government-to-government relationship continue into the future,” said Richarson, who declared February 6 as State Tribal Collaboration Day.

Ten days later, the state Senate passed the bill, which requires cabinet-level agencies to develop policies that promote communication and collaboration between the state and tribal governments. It provides training for state employees to work with tribes.

Since taking office, Richardson has elevated the state's Indian affairs agency to the cabinet level -- a first in the U.S. -- and has appointed more Native Americans to state posts than any governor in history. He also has supported more Indian legislation than his predecessors.