The three anti-abortion bills we told you were headed to the Roundhouse last week have been all but defeated, thanks to your swift action, true testimonies, and declarations of support for New Mexico women and their families.
HB 37 (“Born Alive), HB 220 (20-week Abortion Ban) and HB 221 (Abortion by Parental Consent) have all be tabled for the 2017 New Mexico Legislative Session, ensuring that the reproductive choices of New Mexico women, their privacy, a woman’s right to decide will remain intact until they are again challenged by the religious right, and they will be. Here’s a short summary of how things unfolded this week:
HB 37, the Forced Medical Intervention Act, otherwise known by the pro-life, radical right as the “Born Alive Bill,” would have blocked women, their families, and their healthcare providers from making personalized medical decisions. This bill was tabled in the Judiciary House & Human Affairs committee on Thursday, March 2 in the afternoon having been postponed and rescheduled twice. After grueling 6+ hours of testimony, the bill was defeated, also causing the other two bills that were planned to be heard in the same committee to roll over to the next available date.
New polling by ProgressNowNM and Public Policy Polling show that a large majority of New Mexicans now disapprove of the job Susana Martinez is doing as governor — and an even larger number oppose Republican plans to oppose common-sense revenue enhancements to balance the budget. At the request of ProgressNowNM, Public Policy Polling (PPP) conducted a survey of 881 New Mexico voters (voted in 2016 elections) using a combination of live and online surveys from Thursday February 23 – Saturday February 26, 2017. Specific Proposals to Cut Budget Areas
63% of 2016 voters oppose cuts to Medicaid to balance the budget. Democrats most strongly hold this view (74% of Democrats oppose cuts) – but independent voters show a strong preference for opposing cuts: 65% oppose. 63% of 2016 voters oppose more cuts to public schools – with almost half of 2016 voters, 47%, strongly opposing this proposal (largest “strong oppose” number of any proposal tested).
Earlier this week we asked you to reach out to Sen. Mary Kay Papen and ask her to pull her bill SB 182 which would have laid the groundwork for public lands in New Mexico to be sold off. You listened and you responded. Over 370 people sent emails and countless more signed, shared, and posted our call to action.
And today, Senator Papen gave a brief statement to the Senate Education committee (where she referenced all the input she’d received) and asked that the bill be tabled. SB 182 has now died in committee!
This Wednesday the Senate Education Committee will hear testimony about selling off state trust lands to fund early childhood education. SB 182 would see public lands in the state sold to Big Oil and Gas and close access for millions of land users. You can help stop that from happening.
Gov. Susana rolled out her FY18 proposed state budget this week. In a state with the nation’s largest income inequality gap and slowest economies, Martinez’s proposes to cut wages to state employees and teachers by 3.5% – that’s $700 – $2100 per worker – while protecting handouts to some of New Mexico’s most profitable companies, says two of the state’s largest worker unions.
AFT-NM, representing teachers (a significant portion of local teacher salaries come from state funding, ,waning the governor’s pay cut proposal would be imposed on teachers at the local level):
“Governor Martinez’s proposals will take money out of the pockets of our working families through retirement deductions and jeopardize our schools’ ability to provide safe, quality instruction for our students by ‘sweeping’ hard-saved cash reserves from their budgets. “The bottom line is this: Governor Martinez is telling working New Mexicans to ‘tighten their belts’ while hoping we don’t notice she’s placed it around our necks.”
Here’s the analysis from AFSCME, the union represnting state blue-collar and white-collar workers:
After creating a $300 million deficit at a time when other states are running surpluses, Gov. Martinez announced yesterday that she plans to make up the deficit by taking anywhere from $700 to $2,000 from each and every state and university employee in New Mexico. Call Gov. Martinez’ office [505-476-2200] and tell her that public employees should not pay for her deficit. “Please don’t balance the budget by using pay cuts of any kind–including pension pay swaps–on public employees”
Twenty two states and the District of Columbia are set to raise their minimum wage in 2017 (see below for the full list). As a state that leads the country in income inequality between rich and poor, has one of the country’s lowest child welfare rankings and more than 90,000 children who depend on a minimum wage worker, you’d think New Mexico should be on the list of increasing wage states. But it isn’t for an incredibly frustrating reason. Even though more than 2/3 of New Mexicans support raising the state’s minimum wage of just $7.50 an hour, Republican leaders in the State House have consistently organized efforts kill those proposals. On the one occasion when a simple $1 increase passed the legislature in 2013, Governor Martinez vetoed it.
Wait, did New Mexico Democrats just shatter a glass ceiling by electing an all-women leadership? New Mexico Democrats might have just set an amazing precedent and shattered an insanely huge glass ceiling for women in leadership roles around the country. Three top positions within the Democrat’s new majority leadership are being occupied by women. Not only that but Sheryl Williams Stapleton, an African American, Doreen Gallegos, a Latina, and Doreen Wonda Johnson, a member of the Navajo Nation, are all women of color from very different parts of New Mexico — potentially creating THE most diverse caucus leadership team in American history. Nationwide women only make up 24.2% of state legislators despite representing nearly 51% of the overall population.
In 2009, New Mexico’s legislature and Gov. Richardson repealed New Mexico’s death penalty, replacing it with new laws providing for strict life in prison sentencing and restitution for survivors and victims of our most serious violent crimes. At the time, that bold move received international praise, including an invitation for the governor, legislators and advocates who led the repeal effort to visit with him at the Vatican. Fast forward to 2016 and Governor Martinez -term-limited and facing a sustaining level of public support (less than 50% of New Mexicans have approved of her job performance in poll after poll for all of 2016) – has a new proposal to mark her legacy in office: a return of the death penalty. According to recent polls, the public is split on the issue (mostly along party lines) but those involved in the business of peace and justice are firmly against it and it’s time we send a message. “This repeal of the death penalty was a milestone, moving New Mexico from a culture of violence to a culture of peace, justice, and love,” New Mexico’s Catholic Bishops said in a united statement last month.
There are over 5,000 untested rape kits in New Mexico evidence rooms. The issue with eliminating such a large backlog is funding. Funding is always an issue though, isn’t it? Tired of waiting, one former rape victim is launching her own campaign to raise funds to end the rape kit testing backlog to bring justice for victims like her. Here’s her story:
Jessi Lail and others have organized a fundraising dinner and concert for Friday, August 19th to raise funds for victims to be able to go and petition the legislature directly. Additional funds will supplement victim’s services at La Pinon Sexual Assault Recovery Services.