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.

3 Bills Aim to Protect Reproductive Rights in New Mexico

[UPDATE: SB 282 Passed in the House Judiciary Committee, March 10! Now it moves on the the Governor’s desk.]

Respect New Mexico Women, a coalition of local organizations committed to supporting women’s health care access launched their reproductive agenda this week with a trio of legislative bills that expand the reproductive rights of women in our state, where New Mexicans remain unapologetically in favor of a woman’s right to access all forms of healthcare, including abortion. This is not necessarily true across the nation, where supporters, activists and healthcare providers face the possibility of dangerous rollbacks in legislation. Committees are reviewing at least forty-six anti-abortion bills in 14 states that challenge access to reproductive health including the right to a legal and safe abortion. With the appointment of religious zealot Betsy DeVos, whose family money has “funded crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs)” that lie to patients about pregnancy, abortion, and other health concerns,” women’s health may soon find itself in limbo, but not yet.

Parents and Presidents can’t afford to get sick.

And with a bang of District Judge Alan Malott’s gavel, big business interests in New Mexico postponed – at least for now – a worker-led ballot initiative that would guarantee sick-leave for workers in the Duke City. Now, workers will keep serving our food, caring for our kids and our elderly parents when they’re under the weather. If nothing else, this week reminds us that parents and Presidents can’t afford to get sick. Fox News pundits do the happy dance as they chronicle day two of investigative reporting into presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s absence from the campaign trail. Pneumonia?

Could violent protests over North Dakota pipeline happen in New Mexico?

 

All is not well in North Dakota. For months, members of local tribal groups and other private landowners have been battling an oil pipeline designed to move tar sand oil from Canada down to US manufacturing interests in the gulf. This particular pipeline is slated to go UNDER the Missouri River, a key source of drinking water for tribal groups in the area as well as millions of others down river. Did you know that there have been at least 18 pipeline spills in the US this year already? Two already IN THE LAST 3 DAYS, one in California and another in Louisiana.

Even Susana Martinez can’t help North Carolina’s anti-LGBT governor

Susana Martinez has two jobs: governor of New Mexico and fundraiser-in-chief for Republican governors across the country. In the first one she’s not doing so hot. But in the second, she’s been pretty successful helping embattled Republicans raise millions of dollars to win reelection despite their agendas suppressing voter turnout, preserving lower pay and cutting back on healthcare options for women, and polluting our land, air and water at will. But at least one GOP governor has finally done something so bad even Susana Martinez can’t save him. The New Mexico Political Report and Santa Fe New Mexican report today that Governor Martinez unexpectedly cancelled a long-planned fundraising trip to help North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCory (R), the most vulnerable Republican governor, in the country raise much needed funds.

You wont’ believe what NM oil and gas companies want do to with $104 million in NM taxpayer subsidies

On Friday afternoon, the federal government will stop taking comments on the President’s proposed rule to require oil and gas drillers working on public lands to plug leaks, limit the release of noxious global warming gases and increase royalty payments to local schools across the West – but not before oil and gas companies turn in thousands of comments opposing it. New Mexico’s biggest oil and gas producers have turned out employees and distributed petitions claiming that proposed methane rules will kill thousands of jobs in local communities. You can watch KOB-TV’s very one-sided story featuring these “stop the destruction of 9,000 jobs” petitions online:
They are new rules intended to help the energy industry and the environment, but opponents say they will end up costing thousands of jobs. That’s why one group is working to collect signatures to send to Washington showing opposition to Bureau of Land Management rule changes for venting and flaring by residents. Source: Four Corners residents petition Washington on BLM flaring rules
The don’t have any actual data to back that up nor do they mention that “New Mexico taxpayers contribute $104 million per year in subsidies to the oil and gas industry — or $285,000 per day.”

Steve Pearce joins a very exclusive new club: the Anti-Parks caucus

New Mexico’s lone Tea Party congressman just joined a very special club. In recognition of his work to sell off New Mexico (and our country’s) national parks and public lands, the Center for American Progress named Steve Pearce to the new Anti-Parks caucus along with 19 other federal representatives and senators who have filed at least 44 different bills to sell off or otherwise exploit our national parks and public spaces for profit since 2013. Much like the dad in “A Christmas Story,” this recognition must make Pearce very proud. In recognition of his work to sell off New Mexico (and our country’s) national parks and public lands, the Center for American Progress named Steve Pearce to the new Anti-Parks caucus along with 19 other federal representatives and senators who have filed at least 44 different bills to sell off or otherwise exploit our national parks and public spaces for profit since 2013. From our friends at CAP:
A Center for American Progress analysis found that between January 2013 and March 2016 members of Congress filed at least 44 bills or amendments that attempted to remove or undercut protections for parks and public lands—making the 114th Congress the most anti-conservation Congress in recent history…

*Update on Las Cruces school bus drivers*

Las Cruces Public Schools Withdraws Restraining Order against Union Bus Drivers
From AFT press release

April8, 2016

American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly and Las Cruces Transportation Federation #6341 President Marcos Torres released the following statement:

“It is welcome news that the Las Cruces Public Schools Board has voluntarily withdrawn its motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent a strike by the members of LCTF #6341. In addition to withdrawing its motion, the LCPS Board has also vacated its temporary restraining order, and the courts have dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety. This is a victory for the rights of our members and organized labor across New Mexico. The right to strike over labor disputes is guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act, and we feel that any lawsuit attempting to curtail this right represents a grave injustice to our ability to negotiate safer conditions for our students and better policies for STS-NM employees. We renew our call for parents, community members, and the Las Cruces Public Schools Board to continue to pressure STS-NM to improve its policies on safety for our students and to create policies which attract and retain the best equipment operators possible.

Lt. Governor takes page out of anti-abortion extremist playbook

There is an old saying in Spanish: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.” It translates roughly to “tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are.” This past week Lt. Governor John Sanchez took to Facebook to make it extremely clear who he’s with. In a Facebook post (see below), Sanchez continued the dangerous and blatantly false rhetoric that anti-abortion extremists have been using to describe the Congressional witch-hunt against clinics and medical institutions across the country and in our own state.  

Contrary to Sanchez’s version of the facts, these hearings, like the previous three investigating Planned Parenthood, have found no evidence of wrongdoing. Like the investigation he references, Lt. Governor Sanchez’s claims are baseless.

Heinrich: Make today “TRUMP-FREE DAY!”

New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich has used email and social media to call out the dangerous and divisive tactics and language some of the right wing’s loudest voices are using to get attention. His post calling for the US Dept. of Justice to prosecute “armed extremists” occupying a wildlife refuge in Oregon received hundreds of shares. Now he’s turning his efforts to Donald Trump. Sen. Heinrich has declared today a “TRUMP-FREE DAY!”.