A Week in Review, A Look Forward and a Review of Roundhouse Progress & Challenges Ahead

The Roundhouse is heating up and so we share the status of some of our MUST PASS bills and concerns about the newly released Securitization bill, SB 489. We also provide info on a shift in strategy for contacting our legislators and call for more volunteers at the Roundhouse. As we move to the Senate the work will become more challenging, so we need all hands on deck.

Roundhouse Roundup.

MUST PASS Bills Update.  All of our 27 MUST PASS bills continue to move, as do a good many other excellent bills on related topics. For example, all the bills related to voter registration and campaign finance disclosure continue to move, as do all the gun violence prevention bills. While floor votes in the House show some small cracks in Democratic Party solidarity, with a 46-24 majority in the House, those cracks have not caused any bills to stall. In the Senate the battle will be much tougher, as the Dem majority is only 26-16 with 6-8 of those Dems being far more moderate and more inclined to flip. This is especially important in committees such as Senate Rules where Senators Papen and Clemente Sanchez both voted against the Public Bank memorial, leading to a 5-5 vote in Senate Rules and a bill that is now dead in the Senate.. This could be the fate of other of our MUST PASS bills unless we provide strong constituent pressure at Senate hearings and via phone and email.

The Network and Action Alerts.  With the action beginning to shift to the Senate, it is vital that we have constituents of Senators raising their voices and telling their Senators that they have their back if they vote to advance our MUST PASS bills. If you know people in other parts of the state who may be interested in advocating from home, please share this post and encourage them to JOIN the Network. Our system is in place, we just need more members at the RH and calling and emailing from home.

We are also going to begin posting the city or county covered by each district. For those who live in large population centers like Las Cruces, ABQ, and Santa Fe, we will encourage you to write to any legislator who lives near you with the message being:  “I live in ABQ, am a very active Democrat who donates, canvasses and calls for good Democrats. I strongly support SB XX because [insert reasons ] and am hoping you are supporting the bill, as well. If not, I’d like to hear your reasons.  Thank you for your service.”  We have large numbers in Santa Fe, ABQ, Las Cruces and Taos and with this strategy we can really deliver a strong message to key legislators.

GOP Stall Techniques.  The Democrats are doing all they can to push bills through hearings and to the floor. The GOP is doing all it can to stall by asking the same questions over and over in hearings, slowing the process and then crying foul when Democratic Committee Chairs finally call  a halt to discussion. On a recent debate on gun violence bills on the House Floor, the GOP that holds but just over 34% of the House seats offered over 50% of the discussion while still complaining they weren’t being heard. They were being heard, but the Dems are losing patience with GOP repeat questions. They don’t get the answer they like, so they ask the question again. In the New Mexican this weekend, GOP legislators wondered why they even showed up if they were just going to be ignored. My response:  How do you think we liked it when bills would pass the House and Senate with almost on dissent only to be vetoed by a GOP governor. It is our turn and to do the work we were asked to do in November.

Securitization. SB 489 Energy Transition Act has been introduced and Retake and others have serious concerns about the bill. Our Research Team is hard at work developing a summary describing those concerns and we will share them with the bills sponsors and the environmental groups who support this bill. We agree completely with the expressed goals of securitization: facilitate a just transition, ensure remediation of damage from coal mine and coal plant operations, and replace the lost power by increasing significantly our commitment to renewable energy. We don’t want to do a public vetting of issues before having conversations with sponsors and allies who were at the table developing this bill. But our close reading of SB 489 is that there is a good deal of room for improvement. Stay tuned.

Other Energy Bills at the Roundhouse.  On Saturday, KSFR aired my interviews with Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Sen. Jeff Steinborn. We spoke about SB 459, a bill introduced by Sen. Sedillo Lopez that calls for a 4 year pause on issuing new fracking permits. With Sen. Steinborn we discussed SB 374, Local Choice Energy and the demise of the Senate Memorial on public banking.  Click here to listen in.

Volunteers Needed.  We’ve got a great team of researchers working very hard to develop summaries for our Priority bills and to develop counter arguments to the false narratives being introduced in opposition to our MUST PASS bills, all of which continue to move forward. But as the session is unfolding, we are finding that at times we have as many as four hearings scheduled at once making it difficult to have volunteers at each hearing to distribute flyers with speaking points and buttons. We need more folks to perform this function and still more folks to turn out to attend these hearings. So far, we’ve had 10+ volunteers with Retake buttons in many hearings and at least a few in other hearings. As we start to head to more challenging committees, we will need more folks coming to the hearings.  If you are interested, the work is really quite simple: meet at the RH 30-40 minutes before a hearing begins, either I (Paul) or Susan McGrew will meet you at a designated hearing room, give you flyers and buttons and then you’d just stand near the door of one of our hearings. As volunteers come to attend, you’d give them a button and a one-pager and an observation form to someone who is committed to staying throughout the hearing. If you are interested please contact me at paul@retakeourdemocracy.org.

A Look Back at Last Week’s Posts

If you missed any of the posts last week, I highly recommend checking out both the Tuesday and Saturday posts. They include important information on the Green New Deal (Saturday) and on the Fracking Pause proposed by Sedillo Lopez (Tuesday). The Tuesday post also includes information about the true impact of fracking, not the highly stilted one I heard from the Gas & Oil Industry a week ago.

Senators Sedillo Lopez and Shendo Introduce Four Year Statewide Pause on all Fracking Operations. Expect a Huge Battle

Tuesday, February 5. This bill will be added to Retake Our Democracy’s MUST PASS list. While this moratorium would not stop current fracking operations, it would stop in its tracks all new fracking leases for the next four years. Ironically, right after Sen. Sedillo Lopez’ press conference announcing the bill I heard NM Gas & Oil Association testimony on the wondrous benefits of fracking, disputed in this post.  Click here to read the full post.

Decriminalize Abortion Passes the House, Roundhouse Lies Countered by Retake Our Democracy One-Pagers, Plus a Look at Trump’s State of Disunion

Thursday, February 7. Quite a contrast. At 6pm, we participated in a Sunrise Movement Zoom Call, a Green New Deal campaign launch full of young energy and passion followed by The State of Disunion from Donald Trump, a staid ramble full of lies, distortion and barely veiled racism. The contrast was stark. We share the Sunrise Movement’s plan involving Rep, Torres & Lujan and Sens. Heinrich and Udall.   Click here to read the full post.  I am told that the planned visits to Congressional offices will occur on Feb 28, but this post provides contact info and asks that you contact your Senators and House Rep in DC to sponsor the new House Resolution on the GND.

Ocasio Cortez and Senator Markey Introduce Green New Deal Resolution, Pelosi Dismisses It. Battle Lines Are Drawn

Saturday, Feb 9.  A Roundhouse Roundup updates you on our MUST PASS bills that are sailing along. The post also includes information on AOC and Markey’s introduction of a Congressional Resolution for the Green New Deal. Finally, a tremendous 5 minute clip of AOC asking questions at a Congressional hearing about the influence of money in politics. So spot on. No wonder Pelosi fears her.  Click here to read the full post. I highly recommend viewing the video at the bottom of this post. Inspiring and a prelude of what is to come from the new wave of Dems who speak with clarity and urgency.

One thought on “A Week in Review, A Look Forward and a Review of Roundhouse Progress & Challenges Ahead

  1. I don’t think Speaker Pelosi fears AOC. She is a vote counter and doesn’t yet see that the votes are there for some of the most progressive ideas. She did offer AOC a seat on the Green New Deal committee, which AOC in her own words refused the offer because she was already on two other important committees and did not want to be stretched too thin.

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