MVD automatic voter registration bill revived

In a move reminiscent of a Walking Dead episode, a previously dead voter automatic voter registration bill came back to live in a House Committee Tuesday, then passed and walked out of committee headed to the House Floor for full consideration. 

Democrats Debbie Rodella (D-Española) and Daymon Ely (D-Corrales) took heat earlier in the week when they voted with Republicans against a previous version of the bill in theHouse Local Government, Elections and Land Grant Committee. But Ely told reporters and Facebook followers that his vote against the bill was strategic, not ideological.  House rules only allow a member who voted to table (voting to stall a bill in committee) to call it back up for a new vote on another day. On Tuesday, Ely recalled the bill and allowed the sponsor to introduce new clarifying language, supported by Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse, giving persons registering for MVD services the opportunity to opt-in to registering to vote.  The previous version did not require MVD to notify persons that they would be registered to vote as well.

City of Las Cruces just said NO to Trump’s wall: Support our state legislators trying to do the same thing!

In a 6-1 vote yesterday, the City of Las Cruces sent a resounding message to President Trump: No border wall in our backyard. Las Cruces is the county seat of Doña Ana County which shares 62 miles of its southern border with Mexico. The treaty which ended hostilities between the two countries in 1848 was signed in Mesilla, the village just west of Las Cruces and at the time, still a part of Mexico. The resolution, introduced by Mayor pro-tem Greg Smith, states among other points, “Whereas, the economic, historic, and cultural connections between our part of the United States and just across the border in Mexico is underscored by the families whose members have been connected across this region for hundreds of years before there was a border between the modern countries of the United States and Mexico.”

The dissenting vote was cast, unsurprisingly, by perennial conservative Ceil Levatino. Levatino didn’t hold back her contempt for those speaking against the wall by making a condescending joke about such a wall “becoming a tourist destination” and by glibly referencing the Bracero program, which drew harsh murmurs from the audience and a slew of angry Twitter comments.

Action Alert: Health Security Act needs your help

Guest blog from Josette Haddad – the Health Security for NM Campaign Communications Coordinator

The Health Security Act – HB 101 – is on the floor of the house and the vote for final passage will be taken tomorrow (Friday, February 24).  The votes are tight so we need people to call their legislators now!! With the Affordable Care Act’s future in question, it is more important than ever for New Mexico to pass the Health Security Act (HB 101), which would create a New Mexico health plan that automatically covers almost all residents, provides freedom of choice of health care provider, including across state lines, and shifts private insurance to a supplemental role. We need your help so the bill can then move on to the senate. Please call your representative about this important legislation. Ask your friends, your family members, and others around the state to call their representatives too.

Momentum is building for better early childhood funding

If you’ve followed the NM legislature at all over the last few years you’ve no doubt heard about the proposal to fund early childhood programs through an increased distribution from NM’s $15 billion (yes, billion) Land Grant Permanent Fund.

House Republicans Stop Solar Tax Credits, Jobs in Committee

From KRWG, Las Cruces: 

 House Republicans Wednesday voted against House Bill 193 in the House Business and Industry committee along a partisan 5-5 vote. HB 193 would have made permanent and expanded New Mexico’s investment in solar energy, creating jobs and diversifying the state’s economy at a time when its over reliance on oil and gas has left us in a deep financial crisis.  Sponsored by Representative Daymon Ely (D-Corrales), HB 193 made permanent the Solar Market Development Tax Credits as well as offering them to both private individuals, low income families as well as commercial businesses. “Never has our state had such a huge need to diversify its economy and to create jobs in industries that are immune to cuts in the federal budget or swings in the price of oil and natural gas,” said Representative Ely. “At a time when New Mexicans are wondering why we aren’t the solar capital of the world, it is really disappointing to see my colleagues across the aisle fail to recognize the job creating potential of solar energy.”

House Bill 193 would have increased the solar tax credit from 10% to 15% of the cost of purchase and installation for families making less than $43,871 per year. The new “solar market development corporate income tax credit” would’ve allowed businesses to claim 10% of the purchase and installation cost of a solar energy system. Currently, there are 96 solar companies who call New Mexico home that employs around 2,000 individuals.

Save My Care – On The Move Through New Mexico

The Save My Care Bus Tour visited Albuquerque and Las Cruces on Wednesday. Faith leaders and other community members stood in opposition of congressional Republicans and their rushed effort to take away 266,000 New Mexicans’ health care. The Save My Care Bus Tour is a two-month, cross-country tour focused on telling the stories of the more than 30 million Americans who will lose their health care under Congress’s dangerous repeal plan. Members of Health Action New Mexico, AFSCME, ProgressNow New Mexico, New Mexico Voices, the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, AARP, SEIU, and Interfaith Worker Justice rallied to stand against Congressional Republicans’ plan to take health care away from 266,000 New Mexicans, in both Las Cruces and Albuquerque. At the respective  events, health care advocates, religious leaders, and community members who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act shared their stories and urged Congress to protect affordable, quality health care.

12-Month Supply Contraception Bill Passes in the House

Another win for women: the Health Coverage for Contraception Bill (HB 284) sponsored by Rep. Debbie Armstrong is on its way to the Judiciary Committee. The aim of the measure is to update the state’s existing law to ensure that the full range of contraceptive options is covered by insurance companies without out-of-pocket costs or medically unnecessary restrictions. The bill will improve access to contraception by covering access for both women and men by making it possible for them to acquire a year’s worth of their contraception with one prescription. READ MORE about today’s hearing at the NM Political Report. There are several reproductive bills to watch during the 2017 New Mexico Legislative Session, follow the progress by clicking here.