Good Afternoon New Mexico Activists:
It took us a few days to decompress after the session ended last Thursday, and today we’re ready to give you a quick overview of the status of the bills we supported. But first, a huge thank-you to all of you who sent emails, made phone calls, gave public comment, observed hearings, and put your time and energy into this session in so many ways. Every one of you is important to this process, and we’re happy to be in this effort with you!
We had a few of important wins, but most bills languished and died in one committee or another. Part of the problem is that there were too many bills to process in a 30-day session. But it may also signal the need to rethink our legislative advocacy strategy, and we plan to talk about that at our next Legislative Strategy Huddle on March 9. We’ll hope you’ll join that conversation, and we also invite you to join us for a forum with NM State Auditor Candidates Joe Maestas and Zack Quintero on March 17. Details for both are below, followed by a report on what happened to the bills we supported and opposed.
Legislative Reflection Huddle, Weds., March 9, 6 – 7:30 pm. We will assess how the legislature works, how it doesn’t, and reflect on the success of our advocacy work. What can we do to change the system in which we work, and what can we do to change how we operate so that we can achieve more legislative success? That’s our two-part topic and we are adding 30 minutes to our usual 60-minute Huddle. So bring snacks and libations and let’s share ideas. We’ll post more thoughts on the topic in our blog. Please join us in conversation. You must register to participate. Click here to register.
NM State Auditor Candidates’ Forum, Thurs., March 17, 6:30 – 8 pm. The State Auditor has a critical role in holding government accountable. We’ll talk with State Auditor candidates Joe Maestas and Zack Quintero to find out their vision for the State Auditor’s Office and why they believe they are the best person for the job. You must register to participate. Click here to register.
Now, let’s look at some of this year’s legislative successes:
- We stopped Hydrogen Hub Development HB 4, HB 227, HB 228, SB 194! This took a lot more energy to oppose than it should of, with at least four hydrogen bills to fight. But with the Governor and Rep. Patty Lundstrom determined to push hydrogen in our state, we all had to spend time learning about how bad hydrogen is and urging our legislators to vote against it. We have to continue to educate ourselves and our legislators to keep this from being pushed through next year.
- HB 132 Interest Rates for Certain Loans. After years of effort, small loan rates were finally lowered from 175% to 36%. This is a big win for low-income and struggling New Mexicans. At last, we were able to overcome the money and influence of the predatory loan industry. Huge thanks to Rep. Susan Herrera and House Speaker Brian Egolf for getting this done!
- HB 37 Community Energy Efficiency Development Block Grants passed 44:24 in the House and 26:14 in the Senate and is on the Governor’s desk to be signed. HB 37 will benefit rural, low-income and other underserved community across the state by funding residential energy efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce utility bills, and help the state reach its zero-carbon electricity target.
- SB 80 Health Security Act Adoption Study, the bill that asked for additional funding for the HSA study, didn’t actually pass, but advocates were able to secure $790K in “junior bill” funding from several legislators. That allocation still needs to be signed by the Governor, and HSA advocates ask that we call the Governor at 505-476-2200 to thank her for her support of the HSA and urge her to approve junior bill funding to continue the study.
- SM 1 Paid Family & Medical Leave Task Force passed through Senate Rules, Senate Health & Public Affairs and the Senate Floor 25:14. (Memorials need only to pass through one Chamber and do not need the Governor’s signature.) Funding a study is often the first big step to getting legislation passed, so we hope this leads to paid family and medical leave in our state.
It’s good to celebrate the wins, but most of the bills that we supported died. One look at this list and you’ll know we have a lot more work to do:
- HB 6 Clean Future Act was a bill we originally opposed, then guardedly supported after it was amended. The amendments didn’t go far enough, and we continued to have doubts, but we wanted to support the many positive aspects of the bill. It was amended and passed in House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources and in House Govt., Elections & Indian Affairs but then died on the House Floor when it never came to a vote.
- HB 9 Unlawful Access to Firearm by Minor passed in House Consumer & Public Affairs and House Judiciary but then died in House Appropriations & Finance, where it was never scheduled for a hearing.
- HB 11 Energy Storage System Tax Credit was amended and passed in House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources, but it died in House Tax & Revenue, where it was never scheduled for a hearing.
- HB 34 Solar Market Development Tax Credit Extension passed House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources but then died in House Tax & Revenue, where it was never scheduled for a hearing. It’s companion bill in the Senate, SB 44, died in Senate Tax, Business & Transportation with no hearing.
- HB 65 Housing Modernization Changes passed through the House and then in Senate Health & Public Affairs, but died in Senate Judiciary, where it was never scheduled for a hearing.
- HB 75 Public Banking Act died after being tabled 6:3 in House Commerce & Economic Development.
- HB 131 Water Data Act Implementation passed 5:0 in House Agriculture, Acequias & Water Resources but then died in House Appropriations & Finance, where it was never scheduled for a hearing.
- HJR 2 Environmental Rights (Green Amendment) was amended and passed in House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources but died when it was tabled 9:3 in House Judiciary.
- HJR 9 Independent Redistricting Commission passed House Govt., Elections & Indian Affairs but died in House Judiciary, where it was never heard.
- HM 3 Paid Family & Medical Leave Task Force died, but SM 1, the identical memorial in the Senate, passed. (See successes above.)
- HM 20 Study State-Level Public Utility Model was referred to House Labor, Veterans’ & Military Affairs but was never scheduled for a hearing.
- HM 22 Study Low-Income Basic Income passed House Health & Human Services but died on the House Floor where is never came up for a vote.
- HM 26 Study Legislative Session & Salaries (Paid Legislature) passed House Govt., Elections & Indian Affairs but died on the House Floor where is never came up for a vote.
- SB 8 Voters’ Rights Provisions was combined into an omnibus voting rights bill, SB 144, which passed on the Senate Floor 38:0. It was then amended in House Judiciary and on the House Floor (where it passed 39:0). It required Senate Concurrence because of the House amendments, but Republican Senator Bill Sharer killed it by preventing it from coming to a concurrence vote with a 2.5-hour filibuster on the last morning of the Session. What a disgrace.
- SB 21 Electric Vehicle Income Tax Credit passed with amendments in Senate Tax, Business & Transportation and Senate Finance but died on the Senate Floor where it never came up for a vote.
- SB 43 Prohibiting Life Without Parole for a Child passed on the Senate Floor 23:15 and passed House Consumer & Public Affairs, but it was withdrawn by the sponsor due to the multiple amendments that were seen as gutting the original intent of the bill.
- SB 44 New Solar Market Development Income Tax Credit Changes died in Senate Tax, Business & Transportation where it was never scheduled for a hearing. (Companion HB 34 also died; see above.)
- SM 10 Study State-Level Public Utility Model was never heard in committee. (See House companion memorial HM 20 above)
- SJR 2 Environmental Rights (Green Amendment) was never heard in committee. (Identical Joint Resolution in House, HJR 2, also died. See above.)
- SJR 8 Salaries for Public Officials (Paid Legislature) passed in Senate Rules but died in Senate Judiciary where it never received a hearing.
Thanks so much to all of you who participated this year — to those who directly volunteered with Retake Our Democracy and to the hundreds of others who gave their time and energy to advocacy efforts during this session. We had some wins, but we have a lot of work ahead of us. We’d love to hear from you during our next Huddle on March 9 – see details at the beginning of this Alert.
In Solidarity and Hope,
Roxanne and Paul