2018 Elections: New Mexico’s new Governor will be front in center in rebuilding the state

ProgressNow New Mexico will be looking at some top-level races more in-depth over the next few weeks to bring our perspective to the key races we’re expecting to see in New Mexico this year. New Mexico is in the national spotlight as one of the “most likely to flip” states in terms of our governor’s race. Our series will focus on the offices that New Mexicans can vote for statewide. This is the second piece in our series. Susana Martinez came to power in 2010, at the height of the Great Recession and with a host of ideas about how she’d turn the state around by addressing jobs and crime using the reputation she’d garnered as a tough District Attorney to rouse New Mexicans on both sides of the aisle.

Senate: Gov didn’t disclose donor behind her request for $20+ million special state contract; “We’re being lied to” senator says

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.

Drug Policy Reform Recap in the #NMLEG

Our friends at the Drug Policy Alliance worked their tails off during the 2015 New Mexico legislative session. They were working a number of great bills to reform civil asset forfeiture (it’s a much more serious and important topic than its banal name suggests), grow an industrial hemp industry in New Mexico, reduce marijuana possession penalties, along with many others. There were some setbacks to drug policy reforms as well, but for the most part it was a successful session where some major steps were taken toward creating more equitable and just drug policies. Check out DPA-NM’s final legislative recap below to catch up on the good, the bad, and the ugly:
Dear Allies, Advocates, and Friends,

The 2015 legislative session is complete! Thank you for following and supporting our work from start to finish!

#NMLEG Progressive Bill of the Day | 1-30-15

A bright spot for progressives in the somewhat dim 2014 election was the successful passage of two marijuana decriminalization ballot questions in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties. The questions passed by wide margins and, because of the size of those counties, more than 40% of all New Mexico’s voters weighed in on marijuana decriminalization. Now that the legislative session is back in full swing, drug policy reform is back in the spotlight and one New Mexico State Senator is trying to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana statewide (a similar bill passed the House in 2013 with bi-partisan support). Senator Joseph Cervantes’ SB 383 would  “[reduce] the penalty structure for possession of up to 4 ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines while taking away the potential for jail time for any amount up to 8 ounces.” The Drug Policy Alliance came with this press release on the bill today:
Santa Fe, NM – Today, New Mexico State Senator Joseph Cervantes, representing Dona Ana County, introduced Senate Bill 383 to reduce penalties for adults who possess small amounts of marijuana.  The proposed legislation reduces the penalty structure for possession of up to 4 ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines while taking away the potential for jail time for any amount up to 8 ounces.  Currently, in New Mexico, possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor crime with fines and possible jail time; over 1 ounce and up to 8 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime with large fines or possible jail time of up to 1 year.