Sec. of State takes huge step toward more transparency in state government

In a step toward a more open and transparent government, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver launched a new online resource today aimed at tracking the financial interests of elected officials around the state. Financial Disclosure Documents have been a part of public service in New Mexico for years but were previously only available in hard copies found in Santa Fe.

3 Bills Aim to Protect Reproductive Rights in New Mexico

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. And not in New Mexico, if Respect New Mexico Women has anything to say about it.

In first post-Trump elections, progressives sweep school elections helped by record voter turnout

Progressive candidates fought off pro-Trump Tea Party candidates in school board elections around the state, Tuesday. It was the first election test of the newly energized progressive movement in the Trump era. The results are still coming in but the early results are already clear:  this movement isn’t just about resistance in the streets – we’re voting, too! “Voter turnout in Albuquerque was almost double what it was two years ago, and early numbers show that those voters came out for a slate of progressive candidates endorsed by educators unions, progressive elected leaders and community organizations, including ProgressNowNM,” says Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNowNM. In a sign of progressive voting power:

ProgressNowNM’s Progressive Champions PAC Voter Guide was viewed online more than 25,000 times – 14,511 times in the 7 days preceding the election.

SIGN UP: State Leg to take up background checks for gun sales (and this year it could pass)

In the fight against gun violence in New Mexico, at least one significant piece of legislation filed this year aimed specifically at keeping guns out of the wrong hands. With a new Democratic majority in both houses of the State Legislature and the largest progressive caucus in state history, supporters of common-sense gun violence prevention see this as the year to pass background check legislation. While NRA-backed legislators managed to delay and kill similar legislation in previous years, background check bills have passed in states around the country. This year, State Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard along with State Senate Maj. LeaderPeter Wirth and Sen. Richard Martinez sponsored legislation to keep New Mexicans safer by requiring background checks for gun sales.

New Mexico Crafters Rush to Make Hats For Saturday’s March

To make a visual statement and a strong declaration of solidarity with protestors at the Women’s March on Washington, knitters (along with those who crochet and sew) are stepping up their craft game and New Mexicans are doing their part to show their true colors. With only three days to go before the inauguration of the President-elect, there’s a nationwide run on pink yarn as people scramble to complete their “pussy hats” in time for the Women’s March on Washington. The Pussy Hat Project, created by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman has added new meaning to craftivism. Initiated shortly after the election results that declared Donald Trump the winner, Suh and Zweiman’s went to work to launch a nation-wide effort to encourage the making of pink hats for visual impact at the march, and to represent people who wished to attend but could not. The result is the creation thousands of hats for marchers to don at Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington.

Support this! “Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act” just filed in NM

Last week Representatives Bill McCamley and Javier Martinez introduced House Bill 89, the Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act, that would make marijuana available for recreational use in New Mexico. With the overwhelming evidence that states with legal pot can create new and lucrative revenue streams for public works, HB 89 is a win-win for New Mexico.

Rape kit backlog (finally) gets a lot more attention as legislative session nears

“With policies to overcome troubling long-held attitudes about victims, support for service providers and adequate funding, New Mexico can help lead the way by taking a concrete stand against sexual assault.”

— Tim Keller, New Mexico State Auditor

New Mexico has struggled over the last year to come to terms with a horrifying reality. Victims of sexual assault who submitted evidence from their attacks have waited years (sometimes over a decade) to see that evidence processed; often the first step in a long and difficult road to seek justice, or at the very least closure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZdJF8KMIiY
This problem exists across the county, but like so many things, New Mexico ranks at the bottom of all states in per capita untested kits.  

Public Health New Mexico reported some of the first articles on the rape kit testing crisis back in July of this year. In a series of stories, KUNM brought the subject to the forefront again.

Did New Mexico women just shatter a glass ceiling in the legislature?

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.