How Did Low-Income Families Do in 2019 Roundhouse Session? Report from NM Voices for Children

We also provide an update on our campaign to support Asylum Seekers (you done good!), and information about an array of events and opportunities. NM Voices report includes a link to a summary of every bill signed into law in 2019 with a link to each bill’s summary.Immigration panel with Marcela Diaz, Allegra Love, Rebekah Wolf and May Webber today at 2pm. Details follow.

Before we get to the update from NM Voices, a few announcements and events and opportunities.

One jammed car en route to ABQ

Update on Aslyum Seekers Relief Effort. First huge kudos to New Energy Economy for stepping to the plate and accepting 6-7 full SUVs full of clothing supplies and goods for Asylum Seekers in ABQ and Las Cruces. I also want to commend our volunteer drivers:  Marilyn and Ed Winter-Tomkin, Renee and Larry Stevens, Richard Welker, Grieitje Braga, and Lindsay Robinson.  And Kudos to Megan, Miles and Mariel at New Energy Economy as they have devoted scarce space and time to make this happen.  It is amazing what a small group of folks can do if they just say:  “Let’s Do It.”

We have collected TONS of stuff. A special shout out to Renee and Larry Stevens who went beyond the call of duty and spent hours sorting through what was dropped off to ensure that only those items requested were sent a packing. It is really, really, really important that you pay attention to the list of desired goods. Catholic Charities and other organizations doing the distribution have limited volunteers and when well-meaning folks add just a few other things, “that I am just sure they will find a use for,” it just complicates their work. So let’s honor their requests and only provide what is sought.

Click here to get an updated list of supplies needed, drop off locations, etc.  At this link is info about how you can make financial contributions and this is needed as much if not more than used supplies. By way of update, at 10am Friday, I got an email from NEE saying that Richard Welker had cleared out the NEE office. By 1pm, I got another email saying the office was full again. At 4pm, I got an email from Grietje Braga saying she’d taken 75% of what remains. So, 1000 KUDOS to all of you. We are making a difference. And since the City still hasn’t figured out a system for collecting and transporting things and won’t for several more days, let’s keep going. Now you have Sat and Sun to go through your stuff and look for things that are needed and deliver them to New Energy Economy on Monday, 343 E. Alameda, Santa Fe. But do check this link to see what is and what is NOT needed. Spoiler alert: at least for now they no longer need clothes. 

<CLICK TO GET TO THE LIST OF NEEDED SUPPLIES, UPDATED, SATURDAY MORNING>

One Jammed Office

We should be proud of what we have done. Before the City or anyone else could jump on this, New Energy Economy and Retake did. Announcements were posted in our blog, on our FB page, on the SF Bulletin Board and in Next Door (receiving several complaints about helping undocumenteds or wrecking their site with “politics.”) Oh well. There were also 3 dozen thank yous on Next Door. So we done good. Real good.  Let’s keep it going.

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturday, April 27,   8:30 am – 9 am.  This week I will be interviewing Bill Jordan from NM Voices for Children and we will discuss how low-income children and families fared in the 2019 Legislative Session and the challenges and opportunities ahead. We did the show, but then went 20 minutes over we were having so much fun, so please do go to KSFR.org and check out the podcast as it has 20 minutes of bonus banter.

Last week I did a solo show focused on the pluses (many) of the Roundhouse session in the context of the many critical challenges left unaddressed…and the political and activist implications.  You may also want to check out the really tremendous should from week prior while you are at it. It was an interview with EarthGuardians Rebecca Sobel and was one of the best shows we’ve done.  Tune in or catch the podcasts at KSFR.org. Go to the Programs Menu, scroll to Podcasts and then scroll down to Retake Our Democracy. You can also check out the podcast of my interview with Tomas Rivera, Chainbreaker Executive Director and Chainbreaker’s new organizing initiative to advance a People’s Plan for the Midtown Project (AKA, Santa Fe University University of Art & Design).  Not sure what I have in store for you this Saturday.

April 27, 2-4pm. Asylum Seeker Panel Discussion at Unitarian Church of Santa Fe, 107 W. Barcelona Road sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County . Panelists include Marcela Diaz, Somos Un Pueblo Unido; Allegra Love, Santa Fe Dreamers Project; Rebekah Wolf, New Mexico Immigrant Law Center; and Mayor Alan Webber.  This should be an excellent way to find out about looming Santa Fe plans for accepting refugees.

April 27,  10am-1pm.  TEWA Women’s United, Garden Planting, Seed Sharing, and Forming Community.  Join us at the Española Healing Foods Oasis as we begin a new season in the garden and honor our Earth Mother: opening blessings and welcome; honoring community partners and sponsors; garden planting and maintenance; introducing the Española Seed Library Project!; sharing food. Please bring: Sun hat, sturdy shoes for working on the earth, water bottle, sack lunch and an open heart!  TEWA will provide: water, snacks, gardening tools. This is a free event… everyone is welcome!  I participated last year along with a busload of Earth Care volunteers. It was great to get outside, get the hands dirty and help.  RSVP on the Facebook event page

Monday, April 29, 7:00 pm, at the Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Road.  Santa Fe Indivisible will feature Trip Jennings, New Mexico In Depth’s executive director, on  He will speak on conducting research on political issues, getting to the sources and getting the information out.  Trip is an award-winning veteran journalist who has worked at newspapers across the nation, including in California, Connecticut and Georgia. Besides working at the Albuquerque Journal and Santa Fe New Mexican, Jennings was part of a team that started the New Mexico Independent, an influential online newspaper.  He’s also a very funny and insightful guy.

Thursday, May 2, 6pm-8pm.  Green New Deal Strategy Session Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe. You participated in the Town Hall, now it is time to get down to making concrete plans for organizing and for developing our own concept of a GND.  Join the Sunrise Movement in their first strategy meeting.

Thursday, May 9, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Retake Our Democracy Advocacy Input and Strategy Session. We have a good deal of work to do to prepare for the 2020 Legislative Session and for the 2020 primaries. Our first step is to get input from those volunteers who participated in the 2019 Roundhouse Session. We need to know what we did well and should continue to do, what we need to improve, what we needn’t do at all, and what we missed entirely. We also want to begin formulating plans for keeping you engaged in outreach, in promotion, in research and a myriad of other tasks we will discuss at this meeting.

Many Wins for Children and Families–More Work Ahead

We bring this report from NM Voices for ChidrenUThis legislative session brought major wins for kids and families in New Mexico. Much of the advocacy we did this session, which led to significant policy changes, would not have been possible without your calls, emails, presence in committee hearings, and donations. THANK YOU!

We don’t usually revel in long lists but this one – cataloging all of the victories we had this legislative session – is delightfully lengthy:

Victories:

More than $200 million in recurring revenue passed. Will help get New Mexico off the boom-or-bust roller coaster that we’re stuck on due to our over-dependence on oil and gas revenue. Will also allow New Mexico to invest in our schools, infrastructure, health care, public safety, and more. And it makes our tax system a little fairer by requiring those who earn the most to take more responsibility for paying for these public investments.

The Working Families Tax Credit increased. This proven poverty-fighter was increased from 10% to 17% of the federal EITC, putting another $40 million into the hands of working families who struggle to get by.

Deduction enacted to undo the harm done to families by federal tax cuts. Allows a deduction of $4,000 for each dependent beyond the first, saving families an estimated $36 million they would have paid in state income taxes due to the federal tax cut.

More money for college scholarships. College Affordability Scholarship awards were increased by 50% and $25 million was restored to the College Affordability Fund for need-based financial aid.

State minimum wage increased. The state minimum wage will increase from $7.50/hour to $9/hour in 2020, followed by an increase to $12/hour by 2023.

Dental Therapists authorized. This new mid-level dental practitioner will increase access to dental health care, especially for families in rural areas and tribal communities, which currently have very little oral health access.

Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) created. This department will house and better coordinate four children’s programs: NM Pre-K, Child Care Assistance, Family, Infant, and Toddler (FIT), and Home Visiting.

Census 2020 outreach funded. $3.5 million was appropriated to support Census 2020 outreach, which will help New Mexico get a more accurate count and secure federal funding for programs like SNAP, Medicaid, infrastructure and more.

Budget increases for the following programs:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicaid buy-in study
  • Housing Trust Fund
  • State SNAP supplement
  • NM Pre-K
  • Child care assistance
  • Home visiting
  • Developmental Disabilities program
  • Individual Development Accounts

K-12 education

  • About $450 million in new dollars for K-12 education (a 16% increase in state funding).
  • 6% salary increases for public school teachers.
  • Increased minimum salary levels for teachers.
  • Increased funding for K-5 Plus programs and extended learning time.
  • An increase in the at-risk factor in the school funding formula.
  • Funding for professional development and training for teachers who serve diverse populations in order to meet the needs of our culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Criminal and juvenile justice changes that will benefit kids and families

  • Ban on solitary confinement of juveniles enacted. Regulates the use of solitary confinement in correctional facilities, including county jails, prisons, and other detention facilities. Applies to juveniles and those with a behavioral health diagnosis.
  • Marijuana possession partially Decreases penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and for the possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Expungement enacted. Allows a person to petition the district court to delete their arrest records and public records in the case of identity theft, wrongful arrest, indictment or charge upon dismissal without conviction or upon completion of one’s sentence and payment of one’s fines.
  • ‘Ban the box’ enacted. Prohibits private employers from inquiring about an applicant’s conviction on the initial employment application. They may inquire during the interview process, but this gives the applicant the opportunity to explain.
  • Prostitution no longer a delinquent act for minors. Excludes prostitution as a delinquent act and amends the Family In Need of Court-ordered Services Act to connect human trafficking victims to services. This is important because it requires that minors who are caught up in prostitution be treated as victims rather than perpetrators – which is generally the case since they are being controlled by others. This allows the youth to receive assistance rather than simply being incarcerated.
  • Breastfeeding policies for incarcerated women enacted. Requires correctional facilities to develop and implement policies for lactating individuals who are incarcerated.
  • Judicial discretion in sentencing of pregnant or lactating women. Permits the court to consider a person’s pregnancy or lactation status when determining whether the inmate is eligible for release or bond and in the computation of good-time credit, with the presumption in favor of release of and placement on least restrictive means necessary for a person who is pregnant or lactating.

Believe it or not – these are just the highlights. You can find out more about these victories, as well as others here. You may also contact us at info@nmvoices.org for more information on the session or our work.

It is easy to bemoan what was not achieved in the 2019 session, but as the list above makes very, very clear, much good was done. Kudos to all of you who were engaged and active.  And on to the next chapter.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

6 thoughts on “How Did Low-Income Families Do in 2019 Roundhouse Session? Report from NM Voices for Children

  1. Hello there! Didn’t get a chance to connect with you today at the Unitarian church – but would love it if you could be a guest speaker to our June or July meeting with SF NOW chapter members. We usually meet the first Tuesday of the month. It would be great to have you speak – especially to update what the needs are concerning immigrants. We at SF NOW had two carloads of items sent down to Las Cruces about a week ago. We could do it again – or, better yet drop off the items here!
    I didn’t notice any updates concerning the Roundhouse and committee hearings concerning abortion. I could have sworn you, Paul testified in favor of a woman having the right to choose…… even thought our bill (HB51) did not pass – at least a contraception bill did!
    Thanks,
    Dana Middleton
    SF NOW – Film Committee Chair

    • I am not sure how you didn’t get notifications on HB 51. We certainly sent them. I would be delighted to speak at the June event.

  2. Paul, how do we contact you directly about assisting with refugee supplies, ferrying stuff to Abq etc. We are available after May 7, have an SUV size vehicle.

  3. Pingback: A Look Back at Our Use of Plastics, New Energy Economy’s Petition at the PRC (PNM again) and Immigration & Asylum Seekers | Retake Our Democracy

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