Tue. & Weds were hectic days at the Roundhouse that promises to be oh so much crazier today with Community Solar Act being heard at 8am and an array of Gun Violence Prevention bills in the afternoon. Blog includes a Roundhouse Roundup, and background info on the effort to create a Public Bank in NM.
Public Banking in New Mexico. I am told that very soon a new bill will be introduced to launch an effort to create a State Public Bank in New Mexico. I sure hope so. Santa Fe took about a year to study the feasibility of creating a city Public Bank and determined that it hadn’t sufficient capital to make it work. But, as this excellent article from Next Cities describes, larger cities that do have sufficient capital are rapidly working toward implementing public banks. And for good reason. As this article describes, the benefits of a Public Bank are enormous, as is evident from the example of the one public bank operative in the US, the North Dakota Public Bank. “San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Several states, most notably New Jersey and Michigan, are also moving public bank proposals forward. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, new to office and himself a former Goldman Sachs investment banker campaigned on creating a public bank.”
While Next Cities describes how many cities are working to implement a Public Bank, it doesn’t spend much time explaining how a public bank actually works and what it can do for a large city or state. I’ve scoured the internet many times for concise clear descriptions of how a public bank can benefit a city or state. It is complicated. But this article from Hub Public Banking offers short answers to specific questions about how it works and how miraculously it can benefit a city, region or state. Also included at the bottom of this post is a 2 minute video that outlines the basics in a cute cartoonish sort of way.
It is one thing to have visionary ways to create justice, but in the end, you have to pay for implementing these visions. A state Public Bank could be an incredible force in financing a NM Green New Deal, providing seed money to establish industrial hemp operations statewide, improving our statewide internet, and serving as a sustainable source of funding to stimulate small businesses across the state. NM is saddled with a fiscally conservative Senate that doesn’t want to raise taxes, utilize the permanent fund or even spend much of our surplus, but a Public Bank could be the kind of investment solution that would appeal to those same legislators. I am eager to see the public banking bill that is introduced and will keep you posted.
If you want to learn more about public banking, the Alliance for Economic Prosperity is hosting a house party where you can learn more about how a public bank could benefit New Mexico. It is also possible that by then the Roundhouse bill that would advance public banking will be released and will be discussed. This is an opportunity to get in at the ground floor in developing a very important economic engine to make affordable a wide range of important New Mexico initiatives.
Green New Deal House Parties, Feb 5, 7pm. Sunrise Movement is launching a national grassroots effort to inform people about the Green New Deal. Their site allows you to find a house party near you. There is one party organized in Santa Fe and another in Albuquerque. The one in Santa Fe is being hosted by two Retake volunteers, Esther Kovarti and Emile Sawyer. But let’s expand the number of house parties significantly and develop a core of advocates connected to this national effort. The GND is the kind of galvanizing concept we’ve been waiting for, an initiative that treats climate change with the level of urgency and clarity the threats from climate change deserves. But for it to overcome the stodgy leadership of the Democratic Party, we need a massive green tsunami. Click here to look for a house party or better yet, sign up to host and start asking friends to attend. If you want to learn more about the Green New Deal, two options: a Retake Post from several weeks ago breaks down the GND goals and links to the GND report and a Nature magazine op-ed that describes how past efforts have failed and how this could succeed.
Roundhouse Roundup. Tuesday and Wednesday we had trial by fire. Our first hearing on Tuesday was before the House Labor, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. One of our MUST PASS bills, SB 31 Phased-In Minimum Wage, was the only bill on the agenda. The room was packed, with 100 other supporters jammed outside the hearing room. After public comment, the Committee voted 6-3 to pass the bill forward to the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee. The House Commerce and Economic Development committee is a 6-4 Democratic Party majority meaning that if just one Democrat votes nay the bill would be killed. Look for alerts for that hearing as soon as it is scheduled if you have joined the Statewide Network.
On Wednesday, we again had one hearing, but this time we had three MUST PASS bills being heard in the House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee. Once again the room was jammed with the hallways also jammed. A pattern is emerging. People are paying attention. There were tons of folks wearing the new Retake button and many offered public comment. Not everyone offers comment, as if we did, hearings would drag on forever. But your presence and your buttons tell the committee members plenty. And after Tuesday, we have had two votes and two wins. Unfortunately, the Committee ran out of time because HB 55 (National Popular Vote) had so many people offering comment. The hearing will reconvene on Friday at 8:30 in Room 305, with an action alert going out today. Here are the bills in the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee and the results yesterday. The second two bills will be heard Friday.
- HB 55 Agreement to Elect President by Popular Vote (Passed 6-3)
- HB 57 Restore Felon Voting Rights (public comment received, but vote postponed until Friday)
- HB 84 Automatic Voter Registration at MVD and Elsewhere (postponed until Friday)
Today, at 8am the Community Solar Act is being heard in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee in Room 317 and a host of gun violence prevention bills are being heard at 1:30 in the House Chambers (great location as guns are not allowed there). You would have known about these hearings yesterday if you were signed up for the Network. And you would have received speaking points and contact info for your legislator just in case you couldn’t get to the Roundhouse. The best way to keep informed on Roundhouse legislation and to receive Action Alerts on key bills is by joining the Statewide Rapid Response Network.
“These daily updates are FABULOUS ! Thank you. It’s enabling me to rally East mountain Dems to call Rep Gregg Scmedes. The best help I’ve ever gotten to know who to call when.” Network member.
In Ten or Fifteen Minutes, You Can Have an Impact Right NOW. Despite the Network being in place but two weeks, we are already sending out alerts to over 1200 people statewide. The feedback we are getting about the alerts is just tremendous as illustrated by the quote above. The system is working, we have a team of 33 researchers coordinated by David Thompson, with big time help Susan McGrew, Greg Sonnenfeld, Katie Bruell, Michael McQueen-Sperberg and many others. Lynne Fischer leads a team of a dozen or more other volunteers who coordinate with our non-profit allies. Susan McGrew is coordinating the Roundhouse Coordinators who greet volunteer advocates when they arrive at the Roundhouse to attend hearings and .give them speaking points for the bill(s) of the day and provide Retake buttons. Inside yesterday’s hearing and outside in the halls Retake buttons were everywhere.
But to maximize our impact, we need to vastly expand our base of support, especially in areas outside Santa Fe. And here you can help. Below is a script for an email. Please modify it to your heart’s content, but then send it out to anyone you know who you think might want to be involved. I’ve spoken with many people who tell me they have done this and the result has been a surge in our membership. If more of you were doing it, we’d have 5000 in the Network. So, please take a moment, create a list and send this out. If 100 of you do this, we’ll be at 1500 by next weekend.
I have become involved with an organization that makes it easy for you to be informed and to be strategically active at the Roundhouse or from home, Retake Our Democracy. It takes two minutes to join their Network: Join Retake’s Rapid Response Network. Here’s why I think you should.
For two years, Retake has worked with non-profit organizations like Common Cause, ACLU, Sierra Club, and Planned Parenthood to develop a list of good bills that were introduced in 2017 or 2018 but were vetoed or died in committee. They put those bills in a statewide online survey that was completed by 1,300 and used that input to create the MUST PASS bill list. They are good bills and they need to become good laws. Learn more about the MUST PASS bills here.
The Rapid Response Network will send you Action Alerts the day before the bills are heard in a committee or on the floor when your legislator will be voting. You’ll receive the bill name and number, speaking points, and contact info to call and email your legislator in support of the bill. I’ve been getting the alerts and they are timely and very helpful.
Join the Response Network, get the alerts, and be part of the Roundhouse action in person or from home. This will make it easy for you to raise your voice effectively. Click here to JOIN.