Good Morning New Mexico Activists:
Nearly all of the action these final days of the Session is on the House and Senate Floors. Let’s look at some of that and see what’s left for us to do.
HB 132 Interest Rates for Certain Loans passed on the Senate Floor last night, but it now needs to go back to the House for what is called “concurrence” on that amendment. This is what happens when a bill previously approved in one Chamber is then amended in the other Chamber. The Senate made three minor amendments, and failure for the House to concur would send it to “Conference Committee” and risk failure, which is what happened last year. House Floor Session begins at 9 a.m., so please call and email your House member this morning to ask them to concur on HB 132. Find your Representative, including contact info, at this link.
HB 37 Community Energy Efficiency Development Block Grant also passed on the Senate Floor last night, and it now goes to the Governor for her signature.
The voting rights bill we supported, SB 8 Voter’ Rights Provisions, never made it off the Senate Floor because Republicans asked for a “Call of the Senate,” which requires every member to be present. Two members were missing, so they couldn’t discuss or vote on SB 8, or any other bill. In the meantime, yesterday the House Judiciary Committee combined language from voting rights bills SB 8 and SB 6 into SB 144 to create an “omnibus” voting rights bill, which then passed House Judiciary by a vote of 9:3 along party lines. This bill includes restoring felons’ right to vote upon their release, the automatic mailing of absentee ballots, online voter registration using a Social Security number, and giving 17-year-old the right to vote in local elections if they’ll turn 18 by the next general election. SB 144 must now be passed on the House Floor and return to the Senate for concurrence before it moves to the Governor for her signature.
SM 1 Paid Family & Medical Leave Task Force (identical to HM 3) passed on the Senate Floor 25:14 and was signed by the Governor on Feb. 14, the first piece of legislation that we support that is officially passed.
Last night, the House refused to agree to revisions to the budget bill (HB 2) proposed by the Senate, so those differences now need to be resolved in a Conference Committee, comprised of three Senators and three House members chosen by Senate Leader Peter Wirth and House Speaker Brian Egolf. We’ll update you on this when we have more information.
As we told you yesterday, the House is now only hearing Senate bills, so any House bills that have not passed on the House Floor are now dead. The currently posted House Floor Calendar and Senate Floor Calendar are not necessarily what those Chambers are hearing. Apparently, they are working from “supplemental” calendars that are not posted at nmlegis.gov. It’s frustrating, and we’re not sure why this happens, but we don’t know exactly which bills remain in play.
We’ll send out another Alert later today if we get more information on any of the bills we’re supporting. We had some losses this year, but we also had some big wins. We’ll give you a final report on those wins and losses in a few days and look at what we need to focus on in the coming year.
Please call and email your House member this morning, as outlined in the second paragraph above. Thank you for being part of this movement toward social, economic, and environmental justice in New Mexico!
In Solidarity and Hope,
Roxanne & Paul