A bill that would abolish regional economic development commissions has tentatively passed the state Senate.
The measure would dissolve all seven of the state's commissions. The Department of Commerce would then send at least one employee to work in one of eight newly created economic zones.
Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca says the fact that unemployment rates are high in rural areas means that regional economic commissions need to be dissolved.
"The rural partnerships or economic partnerships are not getting the jobs done in the rural areas. So if something's not working, why don't we try something else, instead of trying to talk about how good it is, and make believe it's good, when in reality it's not," says Apodaca.
Many Democrats, including Sen. Martin Nesbitt, are opposed to the bill. They say dissolving local commissions and sending Raleigh bureaucrats out to rural communities won't solve those communities' problems.