My First Time at the Legislature – POV from a Newbie

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.

VICTORY: All Three Anti-Abortion Bills Tabled in the Roundhouse

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.

City of Las Cruces just said NO to Trump’s wall: Support our state legislators trying to do the same thing!

In a 6-1 vote yesterday, the City of Las Cruces sent a resounding message to President Trump: No border wall in our backyard. Las Cruces is the county seat of Doña Ana County which shares 62 miles of its southern border with Mexico. The treaty which ended hostilities between the two countries in 1848 was signed in Mesilla, the village just west of Las Cruces and at the time, still a part of Mexico. The resolution, introduced by Mayor pro-tem Greg Smith, states among other points, “Whereas, the economic, historic, and cultural connections between our part of the United States and just across the border in Mexico is underscored by the families whose members have been connected across this region for hundreds of years before there was a border between the modern countries of the United States and Mexico.”

The dissenting vote was cast, unsurprisingly, by perennial conservative Ceil Levatino. Levatino didn’t hold back her contempt for those speaking against the wall by making a condescending joke about such a wall “becoming a tourist destination” and by glibly referencing the Bracero program, which drew harsh murmurs from the audience and a slew of angry Twitter comments.

Report: More Than Half of People Who Shot and Killed New Mexico Law Enforcement Officers Were Likely Prohibited From Possessing Guns (but no one checked)

New Mexico appears to be on the brink of becoming the next state in the country to pass responsible background check requirements for gun sales. Now, a new report by one group supporting the effort shows that as many as half of the persons who killed a New Mexico law enforcement officer since 1987 shouldn’t have been able to own a gun in the first place – but there were no laws on the books requiring anyone to check. From Everytown.org:

New Mexico Background Check Bills, Senate Bill 48 and House Bill 50, Slated for Consideration During 2017 Legislative Session, Seek to Protect Law Enforcement by Preventing Convicted Felons and Other Dangerous People from Getting Guns; Research Shows Background Checks Save Officers’ Lives

New Everytown Polling Reveals 87 Percent of New Mexicans Support Criminal Background Checks for All Gun Sales, Including 84 Percent of Gun Owners

NEW YORK – A new analysis released today by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund reveals that more than half of the people who shot and killed a New Mexico law enforcement officer in the line of duty over the past 30 years – from January 1987 to December 2016 – were likely barred by state or federal law from buying or possessing firearms at the time of the incident. This legislative session, New Mexico lawmakers will be voting on Senate Bill 48 and House Bill 50 – legislation that will close the background check loophole in New Mexico and require criminal background checks for all gun sales to make the state safer for law enforcement officers and all New Mexicans. “Every day, law enforcement works their hardest to protect our fellow New Mexicans, but our current laws leave those on the front lines – and in our communities – in vulnerable positions.

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.

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.