We are nearing completion of the 2019 Legislative Report Card. While we had much to celebrate, we compromised far too much to corporate interests in other areas..Tonight Retake seeks your input and ideas to inform how we move forward and ensure that in 2020 and 2021, we get far more done. 12 years and the clock is ticking.New info on how to help Asylum Seekers children.
Thursday, May 9, 6:30-8:30 pm, Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe. We will have snacks and drink. We need you there to help provide input, ideas, and commitment. The preview of our Report Card below tells you why it is so important you join us. Even if you think we KNOW you will be there, please, please RSVP by emailing me at paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.
Santa Fe Kids Corner. As ABQ readies the Expo to house Asylum Seekers, the Mayors of ABQ and Santa Fe have identified a discrete way in which Santa Fe residents can support the relief effort: equip a corner of the Expo to serve as a child play area. To donate, there’s a special fund to assist migrants now up at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Go to the foundation web site, https://www.santafecf.org/ and click on the Fund for Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Let’s Do This. And then come to the Retake meeting tonight to help us organize for the 2020 Roundhouse session and the 2020 primary season. To find out more ways you can support the relief effort, click here. The page has been updated today.
1 Million Species at Risk of Extinction. It was interesting to see that the report from the international science panel that found that 1 million species are at immanent risk of extinction made the front page in only two US newspapers. It is as if the media refuses to inform the public about the severity of the climate crisis. Moreover, while Retake featured the report in Tuesday’s blog, that post had the lowest “open rate” of any blog in many months. If you missed this important report and the added commentary included from Dahr Jamail, click here.
Here is Why Tonight Is So Important and Why We Need YOU
There is no question but that the 2019 legislative session was a quantum shift from the past 8-12 years. Over 300 bills were signed into law, more than in the last eight sessions. The legislature increased K-12 funding by $450 million, passed the Health Security Act (albeit through a tortured path), secured an increase in the minimum wage, reformed the tax and revenue system to generate an additional $200 million in annual revenue, passed meaningful gun violence reform regulations and important election and legislative reform bills–all bills that could not have even been dreamed of making it into law at any time in the past eight years.
Many of these bills passed because Democrats stood and voted in solidarity to a very high degree. Fully 69% of House Democrats and 63% of Senate Democrats had a 100% voting record on Retake’as 47 MUST PASS and Priority bills and many others were just one or two votes shy of achieving 100%. So, there was a good deal to celebrate.
But much was left on the table or was never placed on the table at all. Most shamefully (and there is no other term), the legislature failed to pass HB 51 a bill that would have decriminalized abortion in NM. With a Supreme Court tilting further and further to the right, we can no longer rely on Roe v Wade to protect a woman’s right to choose. Recreational marijuana failed to get anywhere in the Senate after passing the House. One of the Governor’s highest priorities, securing an increase in Permanent Fund funding for early childhood was killed in Senate Rules Committee, after passing the House. Both immigration reform bills designed to protect immigrants from deportation were tabled without a vote.
So, while we have much to celebrate, clearly there is room for significant progress and nowhere is this more evident than in relation to energy, our environment, and the degree to which the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association ruled the roost. Nothing, absolutely nothing that didn’t have NMGOA’s approval got to the Governor’s desk, with Community Solar stalling in Senate Judicial Committee and Local Choice Energy and a four-year moratorium on fracking not even receiving a single hearing, stalled from day one. Moreover, one bill after another seeking to increase gas and oil royalty fees or penalize leaks or other regulatory violations were easily dismissed. Too easily.
While the Governor and the Democratic Party were high-fiving the passage of SB 489 and of HB 546, SB 489 foisted on ratepayers 100% of the cost of replacement power needed to replace the power lost from closing San Juan and severely curbed the PRC’s capacity to regulate PNM. 489 was so deeply flawed, we removed from our MUST PASS list and opposed it to the end. HB 546 which was the only bill to pass that included an increase in penalties for G&O had to be swallowed with a glass of produced water, an element to the bill inserted at the last moment and with no opportunity for a public hearing. HB 546 sailed through both chambers with nary a debate. No wonder it moved quickly, it was supported by Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, XTO Energy, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association,and the New Mexico Business Coalition. Finally, no bill was even introduced that might have offered the state a framework for planning a just transition from our economic dependence on gas and oil, a framework that could have identified other sources of revenue and economic development necessary to making a just transition.
While it is possible to accept modest gains in other issue areas, it is no longer possible to accept modest gains in relation to climate change and here we didn’t even make one iota of progress. We got creamed. And that must be examined and exposed. When completed within the next week or two, the Report Card will be published and it will name names and identify committees where good bills died.
If it were 1950, we would be able to exult in how much was achieved in 2019. But it is not 1950. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared it Year XII and we are counting down from there. Scientists and Mother Earth have made it clear, and physics will not negotiate its deadlines. We were unable to move the needle on what really matters, a plan for NM to keep it in the ground without bankrupting our economy, a way to protect our environment despite lobbying efforts from NMOGA. To read a post published immediately after the Roundhouse session that covered HB 546 and other bills focused on the environment, click here. And there is also important unfinished business to address: to protect a woman’s right to choose, to undo the hundreds of millions of corporate and 1% tax cuts passed in the last 12 years, to protect our immigrants and to legalize marijuana. While addressing climate change has the more finite deadline, if you are an immigrant at risk of deportation or a woman wanting to maintain control over her own body, or a young family searching for a quality early childhood program, you face very immediate and consequential challenges. We did well in 2019, but with a Democratic Governor and huge Democratic majorities in both chambers, we need to do better. Much better.
None of this will happen without you. Please join us tonight and help begin us create a sustainable path to sanity and justice. And just in case you missed it, please RSVP by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul & Roxanne