Readying for the 2021 Legislative Session: Links to Important Legislative Conversations

We’ve interviewed legislators and leaders of efforts to advance legislation we support in either Retake Conversations (radio show) or Zoominars. Today, we offer links to those conversations plus an update on the 2021 legislative session and three News In Briefs on escalating threats of violence.. Watch on!

News In Briefs

  • From Raw Story: A story with a very long, misleading title, but with content that is most worth review, as it distinguishes the deranged behavior of the President from the more insidious long-term strategy of anti-democratic white supremacists whose aim is to destabilize democracy and build a movement comprised of right wing extremists. It is pretty frightening stuff.
  • From Letters from an American: December 9. Heather Cox Richardson describes the most recent GOP lawsuit to the US Supreme Court, enjoined by 17 GOP State Attorney Generals. The suit is asking the Supreme Court to toss out the results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin and authorize the state legislatures in those states, all GOP controlled, to decide. Given that the GOP has lost 50 of 51 suits to date, this has something like less than zero chance to succeed, but is a measure of the GOP desperation and its willingness to fall into step behind a deluded, authoritarian leader. This sustained attack on democracy has consequences; it sows seeds of doubt and increases fury across the nation, as this quote from Heather Cox Richardson illustrates.

” the Arizona Republican Party asked followers if they were willing to die to overturn the election, then posted a clip from the film “Rambo” in which the main character is threatening someone’s life, saying “This is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something.”

Letters from an American: December 9. Heather Cox Richardson

This is a brazen call to arms coming from the official Instagram account of the Arizona State Republican Party, not some fringe extremist organization. It seems to me that there is a slow escalation of this kind of language and increasing exhortations to violence and that there is a real risk in viewing it as mere foolishness.

Transformation Study Group

In our Transformation Study Group meeting last night, we spoke about the degree to which we are teetering on the verge of either a civil war or at the very best a dangerously divided nation. We also discussed how the GOP has become masters of the use of language and framing of issues, a skill that Democrats do not seem to possess. The intersection of those two themes led to a rich discussion of how language matters and the importance of messaging in healing a divided nation or at least strengthening a national consensus around policies and principles that support the vast majority of Americans, urban and rural, no matter the color of their skin.

This group meets twice monthly for an hour. We have several folks nearing completion of briefs on transformational initiatives and our one hour Zoom discussions are always stimulating. If you would like to participate, new members are welcome. You could join a small group working on a brief, initiate research of your own, or simply join the conversation. Write to if you are interested. Click here to find out more about what we are up to. It is a really uplifting group.

Legislative Update

We are beginning to get better and better information on bills advancing in the legislature and more information on how the session will be conducted.

We’ve been told that legislators are feeling that complex bills or bills that launch the state in a new direction will have less opportunity to pass than in prior 60-day sessions, largely due to the constraints imposed by the Covid crisis and the need to focus on passing legislation to support those communities and populations most impacted by Covid.

We’ve also heard that, at least in the House, there is an effort to limit the number of bills a legislator can introduce to five. This would vastly limit the total bills introduced, as some legislators routinely introduce 15 bills. Hopefully, this will significantly reduce the number of memorials to green chile cheeseburgers and marching bands and force legislators to focus on more impactful business. Lastly, we were told that the House Democratic Caucus is meeting this weekend to iron out details for how they will manage the session. Stay tuned.

The most concerning information is that there will be a reluctance to consider complex and bold new initiatives. We’ve heard, for example, that Rep. Stansbury’s, Water Governance Reform bill to improve the state’s capacity to manage its water has been reduced in scope, scale, and potential impact, out of fear that a more far-reaching bill would not advance. Given that our Transformational bills are largely comprised of bills that would launch the state in a new direction, e.g. Public Bank, Health Security, Green Amendment, Local Choice Energy, Food and Ag Omnibus; etc, this tells us that we need to initiate education and advocacy campaigns with our legislators early.

We have set up a framework for doing this with our Senate District Advocacy Team campaign, with coordinators now in 21 of the 27 Democratically controlled Senate Districts. All you have to do is sign up and tell us your Senate District (click to find out your District). You will receive communication from your coordinator as to when your team will Zoom-meet with your Senator in late December or early January.

Please sign up by writing to We will get back to you with more information. Please do this. It is such a light lift and can make such a difference come Jan 21 when the session begins. While we have 10-30 people signed up in some Districts, we have two or three in many others. We need to make an impression on our legislators and early. Once the session begins, it will be vastly more difficult to have substantive conversations with our legislators.

You can read about our 2021 Legislative Strategy and/or join our weekly Zoom Friday’s from 3:30-4:30. You’ll meet some tremendous folks and find out where you may be able to help. Click here to register.

A Selection of Retake Conversations
Focused on the 2021 Legislative Session

Ok, even the most devoted Retake supporter isn’t gonna binge watch eight Zoom conversations, but we figured some of you may have missed one or two of these and now that the legislative session is fast approaching you may want to view one or two of these prior discussions. So, in order, we present:

  • Public Banking
  • Green Amendment
  • Tax Reform & Working Families Tax Credit
  • Health Security Act
  • Predatory Lending
  • Land & Water Issues with Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard
  • Our most recent Zoominar with Senators Stewart & Wirth and Speaker Egolf; and
  • A conversation between Roxanne and I previewing our 2021 strategy and the bills Retake is supporting.

So, make some popcorn and take notes. Cheers

Public Banking in NM: We discussed how a Public Bank would function in NM, how it would augment the work of credit unions and community banks, not compete with them, and how it would facilitate NM investing its funds to meet its own needs rather than having those funds invested by Wall St. bankers….in who knows what.

The Green Amendment. This was a radio interview with Green Amendment founder, Maya Fan Rossum. We discussed how the amendment would work and where such an amendment exists in the US.

Revenue Reform and Working Families Tax Credit with Rep. Javier Martinez and the folks from NM Voices for Children. Find out what real revenue reform can do for the NM state budget, our children and our communities.

Health Security for New Mexico. We discussed the recent independent study, how the HSA would benefit New Mexicans, and what steps would still be ahead in developing a Commission.

Reducing Predatory Lending Rates. This is also a radio broadcast, so half as long as the Zoominars. We discussed how predatory lending rates began as an industry and how they take advantage of desperate low-income New Mexicans, leaving them in hopeless, spiraling levels of debt.

The State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard and her chief attorney discussed plans/hopes for the 2021 legislative session and the ways in which the SLO is constrained in protecting our lands.

Democratic Party Legislative Leadership. Senator Wirth and Stewart and Speaker Egolf weighed in on what might be possible in 2021 and what are the most effective advocacy strategies.

Roxanne Barber and Paul Gibson break down the bills supported by Retake and outline our legislative advocacy strategy.

That photo of me still cracks me up.

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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5 replies

  1. There is no left or right, or extremists or fascists or liberals or religious right or… there is only people.
    There are people who care and love others and the rest of Life.
    There are people who do not love much, or very little, and care even less, if at all, for the rest of Life.
    We can name them and provide psycho-social or cultural explanations of why they are who they are.
    It was and is a futile exercise. We do not have time for such an exercise.
    We, those who care about all Life must Envision and create and unify behind a Common Vision of the future of the planet.
    The kind of planet Life Needs to be able to heal and even flourish.
    Ultimately it is about the Needs of life, which are also our Needs.
    Not our WANTS! (Can we discern between the two?)

    And we know what is necessary for the Earth to be able to heal Herself and for all existing Life to flourish again. (Feminine because, like a mother, provides the necessary conditions for life to procreate itself and also constantly nurtures life.)

    We have had all the knowledge we need to embark in such a task.

    The time to take on such an enterprise was 50 years ago.

    But all we have is this moment.

  2. Hi Eduardo and Paul. I grew up with, same age, same grade, a man who was and probably still is a clone of Covid 45. Wealthy, spoiled, uncaring, manipulative, cunning, arrogant.

    I personally witnessed him incite unrest and provoke violence, without himself ever lifting a finger. He always manipulated someone else to do his fighting and dominating for him.

    As Eduardo says, labels are useless in determining what life requires to flourish, and always have been. But they and the rhetoric that accompanies them are the manipulative devices of sociopathic cowards, those, as Eduardo describes, who are severely lacking in empathy, caring, love and reverence for Life.

    Many humans, such as ourselves, work and struggle as best we know how to unify our thoughts and actions around the only truly necessary behavior any living being needs to perform – compassion for self and others.

    Just today I discovered an utterance I must share because it says so much with so few words.

    ‘To exist is to survive difficult choices.’

    To me, the most difficult choice any human needs to exist is to live a life of non-violence and selfless compassion.

    My dad would add that this survival often depends on whose ox is being gored. When it comes to the overt escalation of violence by those around us who cannot live with the difficult choices, using the deceptions of labels and slogans to encourage violence by others against innocent beings, escalates cowardice to murder via incitement.

    18 US Code, Section 373. Incitement to Violence, a felony. The cowards in the extinct R party have been doing this for months, led by their psychopathic parasite.

    If, and when, this violence is directed toward any of us, or anyone within the reach of our vision and legs, what will we do with this difficult choice in order to survive, and exist?

    Sometimes, the reverence for life involves the difficult choice of defending it against murderers, with no guarantee of the outcome. Against predators, even the most docile prey will fight for survival.

    It is tellingly ironic that the Arizona R party leadership would use the same logic to manipulate their members to violently risk their lives to defend a farce that values no life, especially not their own.

    Let’s all stay frosty, and vigilant.

    Mick Nickel


  1. NM State Legislators: This Is NOT a Time to Be Timid Plus a Link to our 2021 Legislative Survey, & Obelisk Santa Fe City Council Hearing. RAISE YOUR VOICE! – Retake Our Democracy

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