That’s a wrap! New Mexico’s 2017 legislative session is done, at it may go down in the history books as one of the strangest – and our busiest! I’m still crunching the numbers, but early indications show that New Mexicans like you used our advocacy tools to contact legislators more than 50,000 times and read our legislature reports more than 100,000 times a month during the session! If you missed any of our 40+ legislative reports, catch up here. read more: Full coverage of #nmleg from ProgressNowNM
For 2017, voters gave Democrats control of the House and Senate and sent the largest progressive caucus to Santa Fe to get New Mexico working again.
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This Saturday, Congressman Steve Pearce will be in Las Cruces for a town hall meeting. We hope to have as many good progressive voters as possible show up to keep the pressure on Pearce (who knows how long we’ll have to wait to see him in Dona Ana County again). We’ve prepared this one-page sheet for your convenience to have a little background on some of his most notable positions on issues we know you care about. Feel free to print it out and bring it along, or just save it to your phone so you can ask well-informed questions on Saturday! read more of our stories on Steve Pearce here
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Last fall, voters in southern New Mexico sent an exciting new delegation of progressive champions to Santa Fe to represent us. Now that the 2017 Legislature is coming to a close, let’s check in on some of their successes and how they’ve helped move New Mexico forward!
UPDATE:Here’s how three important bills we were tracking ended up this session: (1) Health Coverage for Contraception (HB 284) – a bill aiming to expand contraceptive access by covering both women and men and requiring insurance companies to cover up to one year’s supply of contraception at once – passed the House and one Senate committee but wasn’t voted on by the whole Senate. (2) Hospital Patient Protections (SB 282) would have prevented New Mexico hospitals (often religious institutions) from blocking reproductive health care that could put a patient’s life or health in danger. It, however, was not voted on by the full Senate. (3) In a major win, the Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act (HB 179) passed both houses and now awaits action by the Governor. This important bill will ensure pregnant workers will be able to continue working and support their families while they are pregnant.
Over the duration of the 2017 regular session, we fought to create laws that would result in keeping guns out of dangerous hands. In the end, major legislation that would have changed the way that people purchase firearms by requiring background checks for all gun sales, had its language changed and eventually met its fate in the House Judiciary Committee. However, not all gun violence prevention legislation reached the same result.
The 60-day session has been a battle for the dignity and character of our state. Our progressive legislators stood strong for the citizens. Gather at the Roundhouse on Saturday 3/18 — the last day of the 2017 Regular Session — from 10AM to 12 PM. Stand and recognize the legislators who stood for us.
On November 1st, I accepted a position as the Community Engagement Strategist for ProgressNow NM. When I spoke with Executive Director, Pat Davis about the job, what it entailed, what my skill set was and how it applied, and how it didn’t – in regards to the things I would “learn on the job,” I was still feeling like a foreigner in only a slightly less intimidating environment.
Santa Fe, NM – PNM is beginning the process to plan for a permanent shutdown of the coal-fired San Juan Generation Station by 2022. The SJGS is responsible for generating nearly 60% of the state’s power, but it relies on coal power and a nearby coal mine PNM purchased last year to support it.
PNM proposed two scenarios for future power production: one to keep the plant in operation after 2022, the other to close it and shift to a larger renewable portfolio. But, PNM added a catch: the scenarios supporting closing the plant are tied to PNM’s latest rate increase request to the PRC which asks for electricity rates to increase by as much as 14% for New Mexico customers.
“I want to stress that is only a preliminary finding regarding our San Juan Generating Station,” Vincent-Collawn told the Albuquerque Journal. “No decisions have been made. We have a lot of work to do and will be having discussions with the other owners and considering public input before the IRP is finalized.”
But that power has come at a cost. Western Resource Advocates note that, “since it began operation in the 1970s, the four coal-fired boilers have been the largest source of air pollution in the state and have impacted Arizona, Nevada and Colorado in the Four Corners area. The plant releases over 13,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year and contributes to haze pollution, acid rain, and health issues in the region.”