This year’s legislative session was a really intense roller coaster, to say the least, and we all took some time to rest and reflect together on why we do this important political work.
ProgressNow New Mexico’s coverage hardly scratched the surface and I want to take a moment to fill you in. I will also give you some tips on how you can help fight back against dangerous rhetoric!
Anti-abortion extremists were in full force, spreading misinformation and only harassing an Indigenous and queer person (me) over House Bill 51, not including legislators and their families. They regularly use tactics like harassing and stalking to intimidate activists, medical providers, and patients so this is just one of their many tactics. Just to be clear- this bill was ONE PAGE LONG, and only repealed a pre-Roe v. Wade law that criminalizes medical providers for providing abortion care. It didn’t expand abortion care (let’s be real- we have the best abortion access in the country). While there are already federal AND state protections for medical providers who have “moral objections” to providing various kinds of healthcare, not just abortions, the Senate Judiciary Committee amended HB 51 to have a “conscience” clause but ultimately, Senators Ramos, Sanchez, Papen, Smith, Munoz, Campos, Cisneros, and Martinez, voted against it because they’re… awful. There’s no other word for them. We should also note that no Democrat who voted against HB 51 or Republican stepped up to condemn anti-abortion extremists who harassed legislators, legislators’ families, advocates, and providers online and in person. So here’s what we think of them and that:
Do you want to know if your OBGYN holds views that contradict your constitutional right to safe, legal abortion? Click here to see if your doctor has a public profile on the American Association of
Pro-Life Anti-Reproductive Health Obstricians & Gynecologists. Then go support/follow women and people of color-led organizations that protect access to all forms of reproductive health in an anti-racist, anti-white supremacist, intersectionally feminist way! Our suggestions:
**Have suggestions for other orgs? Comment and we will do our best to share those with the wider PNNM community!**
There is no other way to describe the Senate Bill 8 and House Bill 8 except “necessary”. While #2A “advocates” like to holler about the laws being unenforceable and unconstitutional, we know bills that restrict who can have access to guns save lives. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, similar bills could have an impact on the decrease of homicides via guns. The American Journal of Public Health found that a background check law for private sales reduced homicides from guns by 40%. Governor Lujan-Grisham signed Senate Bill 8 into law. This law will apply to virtually all gun sales except sales between law enforcement officers and immediate family members or someone selling an antique gun. We definitely need to keep guns out of the wrong hands because lives depend on it.
We suggest following these organizations:
Energy & the Environment
Senate Bill 186- or Oil Conservation Division Powers & Duties- will make sure that that oil companies are held accountable for spills by paying fines. Spills have increased over the last decade. In fact, the Oil Conservation Department did NOT issue any fines last year despite being notified of over 1,700 violations. Now, energy companies will be penalized for putting New Mexicans’ health and our natural resources at risk.
Senate Bill 489- the Energy Transition Act (ETA)- will help New Mexico go 100% carbon neutral by 2050. This means that our carbon emissions will be mitigated by the use of renewable energy. Concerns that the Four Corners Area will be economically devastated are addressed by the fact that workers will be compensated and trained as the San Juan Generating Station closes in the area. One of the great things that this bill addresses, that many Green Energy efforts around the country don’t, is that it recognizes the Indigenous communities and the local economies that will be impacted by a major transition like this. It’s a huge first step in the right direction!
Modernizing Our Elections
During #nmleg, we helped partners across the state to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can vote. This means our most rural New Mexicans, young people at college, people in the military, differently-abled people, low-income people, and formerly incarcerated people would be able to vote by breaking down the barriers to voting. For folks who live in a rural county where the voter rolls are not available in real time (read: lack of adequate internet access) and registers on Election Day will still be able vote a provisional ballot. The county clerks in more rural counties had concerns about internet access and the Secretary of State is committed to helping the best her office can. Hooray for Senate Bill 672!
There were two different bills that came out of each chamber, one which raised the minimum wage to $12 and one that was $10. The bill that came out of the House also wrote their bill to include tipped workers getting a wage increase that matched other minimum wage workers- this was gutted. Currently, tipped workers make $2.13 per hour, which is unconscionable, and the bill that passed through the legislature increased it to only $3 per hour. The minimum wage will be gradually increased to $12 per hour by 2022- again, this does NOT include tipped workers.
Much of New Mexico to the State Senate:
ProgressNow New Mexico’s mantra through 2019 & 2020: