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!
Reproductive rights are human rights, and New Mexicans know it. While in places like Ohio, where a lawmaker referred to women as “hosts” and proposed a bill where fathers must approve of abortions, the women of New Mexico and their families are the big winners of the 2017 New Mexico Legislature proving that all aspects of a woman’s reproductive life is critical, even the right to a safe and legal abortion. After a battle of words, often late into the night, champions of women’s health fought to expand the rights of women across the state now wait on the final verdicts as the bills pile up on the Governor’s desk. Riding the momentum of the Women’s March on Washington, the Respect NM Women Campaign was launched on February 7 to champion three bills that would expand the reproductive rights of women.
HB473, the hearing to decriminalize abortion, is underway.
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.
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.
Remember last week when she complained that the two chambers were being lazy and not giving her enough bills to sign (even though they’d passed 175 bills at that time)? Now she’s vetoed 6 that were supported by many members of her own party, some of which would also have had a direct economic benefit on the state.
Legislation to help keep guns out of dangerous hands hit a snag in the House Judiciary Committee today where it was tabled on a 7-6 vote. The motion to table ends debate and keeps the bill in committee, essentially ensuring that the bill will not make it to the House floor for a vote. House Bill 50, the original legislation, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on February 10th and on to the house floor but was sent back by the bill’s sponsor, Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos), to have amendments made. The amendments targeted complications with the bill’s language on ‘gun transfers’ between family members and close friends. The substitute legislation, HB548, scraps the ‘gun transfers’ language and focuses the intention on requiring background checks for gun sales between strangers.
As the governor faces down a veto override led by members of her own party, a Republican State Senator unexpectedly began the process to recall a bill exempting a real estate contract from state purchasing laws. Senators said the governor’s administration did not disclose that the beneficiary was a major donor to Governor Martinez’s campaign and PAC nor that the space was deemed incompatible with the state’s needs by one of Martinez’s own cabinet secretaries. “I found out the information I was given early on was not accurate – that there were campaign contributions I wasn’t aware of,” Republican Senator Neville said in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal. “We’re being lied to,” Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, said on the floor. “This is despicable.”
Andrew Oxford reported in the NM Political Report and Santa Fe New Mexican:
In an extraordinary maneuver, state senators killed a bill Saturday that they had approved four days earlier after one of them said he had misled his colleagues about connections between Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and real estate developers who stood to benefit from the legislation.
A few weeks ago, ProgressNow got word that the NRA was flooding New Mexico legislators’ inboxes with out of state emails – so we decided to fire back. And today, with help from the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action, we handed in thousands of petitions signed by New Mexicans who support background checks for gun sales legislation. As the legislature winds to an end this upcoming Friday, work-days and work-weeks are getting longer, with hearings lasting into the night and on weekends. The House Judiciary Committee, the current place for gun violence prevention legislation, was set to meet today until a last minute change pushed the meeting to this upcoming Monday, 3/13, at 1:30. So…You guessed it!