What a week, 8 hearings on 7 of our MUST PASS bills, with all bills passing, and more and more signs that nationally and here in NM, things are changing dramatically. Today, we reflect back on the darkness of Nov 2016 and travel through time to today, where at a state level we are poised to make major progress and at a national level we can final put the brakes Donald Trump.
Roundhouse Update: We checked the Roundhouse Senate and House hearing schedules Friday night and were relieved to see no hearings for our MUST PASS bills for Monday. At 5pm Sunday afternoon we checked again and three important MUST PASS bills were assigned to committee hearings Monday, as in today.. The link for SB 3 will take you to a summary and speaking points. Unfortunately, as of Sunday afternoon, the Research Team had not completed a summary for either HB 150 or HB 6. But our Researchers are incredible and by 6pm we had a summary for HB 150 and by 7pm we had a summary for HB 6. Because these hearings were announced so late, we suspect it will be difficult to turn out a crowd, especially for HB 6 at 9am. We suspect that SB 3 will sail through Rules with Senator Wirth leading that effort, so if you can make it, please come to the Roundhouse at 8:30. We will have coordinators at Room 321 and Room
- HB 150 (2019) Installment and Small Loan Changes. House Commerce & Economic Development, Monday, January 28, 2019 – 1:30 pm – Room 317
- SB 3 (2019) Campaign Finance Reporting, Senate Rules Committee, Monday, January 28, 2019 – 9:00 a.m. – Room 321
- HB 6 (2019) Tax Changes. House Taxation and Revenue. January 28, Monday, 8.30am, Room 317. HB 6 is a substantial reform of the tax and revenue system eliminating a 50% deduction on capital gains taxes, taxing internet sales, reducing the GRT, increasing the tax rate on the top income bracket, among other important changes. While we consider this bill a MUST PASS bill, we also see significant need for improvement, as captured in our MUST PASS bill summary.and in the summary for HB 6.
I am sure there will be plenty more action for Tuesday, so to get alerts, JOIN the Network. And be sure to watch the short video from Valarie Kaur at the end of this post. I promise it will inspire you.
Times, They are a Changing
In November 2016, we elected Donald Trump as President and did little to change the composition of Congress. So at a National level, we were forced to play defense with very few tools to do so. And so we got obscene changes in our tax code, a huge increase in military spending, two bad Supreme Court justices, (Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) the unraveling of a host of consumer and environmental regulations, a counter productive tariff war, repressive immigration policies, and endless, mindless, hateful tweets and diplomatic embarrassments.
At a state level we retook the State Democratic House, but with a far more conservative Senate and a GOP Governor, only very modest proposals worked their way into law and with the PRC having a 3-2 majority of Commissioners doing the oil industry’s work, we remained largely in damage control there.
But things are changing.. At a national level, while still playing defense, we finally have some tools, and it would appear that Nancy Pelosi knows how to use them. No, she is not launching a progressive agenda and yes, she is rebuffing the newly elected young, progressive Democrats who have joined the ranks, but she is also organizing an effective resistance to Trump. If Trump and the GOP continue to bungle things for the next two years (parallel to Martinez and the GOP here 2016-2018), then we have an opportunity to take the Senate and the White House and the game changes in DC, just as it is changing here at home. And look at what is happening here.
- A Land Commissioner who cares about our land (although I am concerned with recent comments that SGR would like to “dance” with gas and oil);
- A tremendous NM Supreme Court appointment of David Thomson, the judge who forced Santa Fe to implement Ranked Choice Voting and then rejected PNM-sponsored efforts to disqualify Steve Fischmann as a candidate for PRC;
- Good to great Secretarial appointments to health, children youth and families, workforce solutions, education, criminal justice, and other important state departments;
- A PRC with a new 3-2 majority of Commissioners who are committed to the planet and the ratepayers;
- A Roundhouse solidly progressive in the House and at least Democratically controlled in the Senate and a statewide Network that is growing and prepared to hold accountable legislators who falter when voting on important legislation; and
- A Governor prepared to sign a raft of bills that will improve the lives of our most under-served New Mexicans;
Certainly, we still have New Mexicans who suffer from national and state policies, some suffering horribly, but instead of our only strategy being to protect them from more harm, we are poised to address many of the policies that have oppressed them.
Now flash forward to January 2021, a Democrat is President and both chambers are Democratically controlled. Not all those in DC will be progressive, so we will have more work to do. But just as we will this year in NM, at a national level in 2021, we will get a good deal done that is worth doing. And we will begin the grassroots work needed to build strong bases in House Districts and states to pressure centrist and corporate Democrats.
This is all good stuff. The contrast in our psyche from 2016 (defeated, confused and demoralized) to now (empowered, focused, and energized) is the difference between night and day, the difference between darkness and light. Considering this contrast between dark and light caused me to think of Valarie Kaur and her remarkable speech in January 2017. At the bottom of this post, I am posting that video. I have watched it a dozen times. In it, Valarie Kaur asks: What if the darkness right now is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? She was right and now we need to heed her advice and PUSH. I just listened once again and was just as chilled by the power of her speech as the first time I saw it. Please watch and let’s all push together,
A Look Back at Last Week’s Blog Posts
If you have time to review but one of these posts, I highly recommend the first one from Tuesday, Jan. 22 as it lays out the terms that will be bandied about during important consideration of an array of climate change legislation. We have 12 years apparently, my guess is less, and so it is critical that all of us are grounded in the terms, options and opportunities.
New Mexico Voices for Children Study Describes a Path to 100% Renewable Energy with Report on How a Solar Plant in San Juan Could Replace Lost Power, Jobs and Revenue from Closing San Juan Generating Station
Tuesday, Jan. 22. Environmentalists and communities dependent upon coal for local jobs and revenue have often been pitted against each other as shutting down coal translated into a sacrifice zone. Environmental groups had argued that development of renewable energy to replace coal could replace those lost jobs and local revenue. Now a well-researched report documents just that. And just in time.The post also explains a number of important energy terms common in the transition debate with Renewable Portfolio Standards, Stranded Assets, Replacement Power and Securitization described in lay terms.. This is a very important post to review and keep handy. We will no doubt here about how gas and nuclear can be a safe transition to renewable energy from gas and oil lobbyists. We need to be grounded in our understanding of the alternatives. Click here to read this important post.
Public Banking in New Mexico: A Potential Engine for New Mexico Investment in Infrastructure and the Just Transition Plus a Roundhouse Roundup, Plus a Report on Green New Deal House Parties in NM
Thursday, Jan. 24. Tue. & Weds were hectic days at the Roundhouse but it 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. It also includes a link to the clearest summary I’ve read of how a Public Bank can work and how it can benefit a large city or state. Click here to review the full post.
Abortion Decriminalization Hearing Announced for Saturday You Marched Last Saturday, Now Its Time to Tell Them Why
Friday, Jan. 25. We’ve had thousands marching for Women’s Rights, but a march is a moment, not a movement and it is time to do more than march. We can make a strong statement on Saturday at the Roundhouse, but this time we’ll be inside advocating, not outside signing songs and carrying signs. Dems hold a slim 3-2 margin in this committee, one slip and the bill is dead. Be there. And folks did turn out, on both sides of the issue with four hours of testimony, followed by a party line vote. But lessons were learned from hearing the largely baseless claims made by pro-life advocate, allowing Retake to revise its speaking points and one-page bill summaries distributed to legislators in future committee hearings. Click here to review the full post.
Pelosi Trumps Trump + Roundhouse Roundup: A very Good First Two Weeks at the Roundhouse
Sunday, Jan. 27. Seven of our must pass bills sailed through committee hearings with one, the Popular Vote, passing through two House Committees, moving on to the Senate. Donald Trump has not fared as well, as Pelosi said no, and was able to hold her Party firm. With his polls dropping and the GOP in the Senate bolting, The Donald caved getting zero for the 35 day shutdown. Could things be looking up? The post analyzes how Pelosi outflanked Trump and what this bodes for future negotiations between the Democrats and Trump. In examining the first two weeks of the legislative session, Retake points to the highlights but also looks forward at challenges in the Senate. Click here to read more about Pelosi trumping Trump.
Paul & Roxanne
And please take a moment to listen to Valarie Kaur, oddly her first name is mis-spelled in the heading to the video. You won’t regret watching this now, even if you’ve watched it before.