This year’s 30-day session saw a litany of conservative attempts to once again limit women’s reproductive options in New Mexico by pushing for laws that interfere with personal reproductive health care decisions and that reinforce shame and stigma. Thankfully the progressive majority in both the House and Senate held such arcane bills at bay in committees, keeping reproductive choice in the hands of families who are the sole deciders of their health decisions. In this election year, it’s important that we remain focused on who these obstructionist legislators are so that voters can help move New Mexico forward in assuring women and families have access to whatever healthcare options are right for them, up to and including abortion. Every Representative above voted to restrict access to abortion in some form this year, and in years past. That includes Democratic Representatives Debbie Rodella and Carl Trujillo.
Some “highlights” of the session include when Minority Leader Nate Gentry attempted to politicize a visit from Albuquerque Police Officer Ryan Holets.
The Las Cruces City Council seated its new and re-elected members today and, in a flourish of newly proposed business, showed what a dedicated panel of progressive leaders can accomplish when working together. In their first session, the newly seated council saw returning Progressive Champion Gill Sorg be elected unanimously as the new Mayor pro-tem, signaling a shift away from registered Independent Greg Smith who’s held the post for the last two years. Sorg also went on to introduce proposals that the council take up a resolution in support of the Legislature legalizing recreational cannabis as well as a measure to bolster support for immigrants living in Las Cruces. Major cities in New Mexico are “home rule cities” which allow citizens to directly shape their cities in important ways — the most prominent being the use of citizen-led ballot initiatives. This rule has been an extremely important tool for progressive voters to move New Mexico forward.
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.
One of three Draconian abortion bills was heard in the Roundhouse today and was precipitously and successfully struck down. The Forced Medical Intervention Act, otherwise known by the pro-life, radical right as the “Born Alive Bill,” was tabled the House Consumer and Public Affairs committee after a marathon hearing full of voices of doctors and women supporting their own right to make their own health care decisions. This misleading bill that would compromise the health and welfare of patients and would criminalize the work of medical providers. Similar bills had been introduced in previous sessions where sponsors made last-minute attempts to revive them from committees in the final days of the session. Did you know?
Santa Fe – Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the Tucson-area Congresswoman injured in a 2011 shooting at her “Congress on Your Corner Event,” stopped by the New Mexico State Capitol today to speak with lawmakers about bills strengthening gun violence prevention policies.
Gabby Giffords Steps in to New Mexico Firearms Debate
Former Rep. Giffords visits the Capitol amid Gun Debate
Video: Gabby Giffords discussing Gun Violence with NM Lawmakers
Giffords’ efforts focused on current legislation to require background checks for gun sales, as well as a Senate bill which would require that people surrender their firearms if they’re the subject of a protective order issued by a court as part of a case of domestic abuse. https://twitter.com/NMreport/status/834568473665638400
Read more on today’s visit from the New Mexico Political Report
Gifford and her husband founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a the gun safety advocacy group after she survived a 2011 assassination attempt that killed six and injured a dozen others. ARS along with Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence and Progress Now NM have launched grassroots efforts to get these pieces of legislation signed into law. Show your support for common sense legislation that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill by requiring background checks for gun purchases.
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.
[NEW!! CLICK HERE to read the latest on march info: Five New Mexico Cities Host Women’s Marches This Saturday: What You Need to Know . . .]
New Mexico Women will march on the New Mexico State Capitol and in Washington, DC one day after the pending inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, soon to be the 45th President of the United States. The gathering in New Mexico will culminate in a rally at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe in what will be a national day of action. The Women’s March on Washington, scheduled for Saturday, January 21 is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of women to the nation’s capital to collectively denounce Trump’s presidential campaign rhetoric aimed at minorities and women.
With elections (mostly) decided and the legislative session just around the corner, new and experienced lawmakers alike are preparing to head to the Roundhouse. They’ll begin the hard work of addressing the many pressing issues facing the state. But legislators will also be courted by big business and big corporations, who see lawmakers as a means to introduce legislation that benefits their bottom line.This year, the House Republican caucus is welcoming corporations to take the lead in setting the agenda. At this week’s caucus meeting, House Republicans elected members of the infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to leadership positions, opening the door for more special-interest corporate influence in New Mexico than ever before.After ALEC sponsored “Stand Your Ground” laws were used to justify the shooting of Treyvon Martin in Florida and corporately-sponsored voter suppression laws were introduced in Minnesota and Missouri, corporations and legislators across the country began fleeing the organization. Here in New Mexico we joined with Color of Change, Common Cause and others in a campaign to educate New Mexicans about ALEC’s dangerous influence. Senator George Munoz quickly joined more than 40 other legislators across the country who dumped ALEC, along with more than 70 big corporations.But some legislators held firm. We caught New Mexico ALEC co-chair Rep. Paul Bandy on tape describing how ALEC companies “just send him money,” freeing him of having to engage in fundraising from constituents he represents.This week, House Republicans doubled-down on their connections with ALEC, electing outed ALEC members Rep. Nate Gentry and Rep. Alonzo Baldonado to two of three leadership positions. Likewise, Rep. Don Bratton was elected to be the caucus leader and though not a publicly identified ALEC member, the listing of donors to his campaigns reads like a membership roster of ALEC corporations.New legislators, be warned. ALEC is anything but a helpful resource. Their corporate agenda is hidden behind lavish luxury trips and easy corporate campaign donations. But after the public started watching, companies like Coca-Cola, Kraft, Pepsi and Intuit all thought better of membership. So did dozens of legislators across the country who join Sen. Munoz in saying “ALEC is wrong for New Mexico.” It is becoming increasingly clear that New Mexicans do not want their lawmakers at the beckon call of a corporate-backed, out-of-state lobbying organization and we’ll be on ALEC watch in the Roundhouse once again.