Haaland Confirmation Monday; YUCCA Video Interview; Important Legislative Review, Status of 43 Retake Supported Bills

We’ve spent hours reviewing the votes, committee paths, and landing places for all of the bills we are supporting and offer a status report here and some analysis of trends. Also a Deb Haaland tribute from TEWA Women United.

From our friends at TEWA Women United. On Monday, the U.S. Senate will vote on Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s nomination to the Cabinet position of Secretary of the Interior Department. Her anticipated confirmation will be a truly historic and joyful moment for Native communities and everyone who cares about Nung Ochuu Quiyo — our Earth Mother. Read TEWA’s statement here.


Retake Conversation with Castille Aguilar and Arte Romero y Carver, two YUCCA youth advocates. We discussed how they became YUCCA advocates, the impressive scope of work they cover, their reaction to the 2021 session, and their future plans. YUCCA is a remarkable development in the NM advocacy scene, a legitimate, informed, and powerful youth voice. I strongly encouraging you to listen.


Legislative Update

Below is an update on every one of our Transformational and Priority bills, outlining which bills are passed (Blue), very, very close (Green), need a push (Yellow), on life support (Orange) and, finally, dead (Red). The color coding makes it more visually clear how well we’ve done.

Before you dive in, a few trends:

  • Two Bills Passed: They are either on the Governor’s desk or, like HB 203 Health Security, are fully funded by Junior Bills.
  • Fifteen Bills One Stop From Passing. They are on the verge of passing and very likely to pass.
  • Four bills need big pushes but could still pass.
  • Two bills are on life support: These still need to pass one or more committees in one chamber and then go through committees and a floor hearing in the other chamber.
  • Twenty bills are dead. Only a handful of these bills died due to a No Pass vote. Most were entirely neglected from the start or died via tabling motions.
  • Eleven environmental bills are dead (10) or on life support (1), and four environmental bills are very close to passing. Interestingly, none of the four really challenge the gas and oil industry. They are a sustainable building tax credit, a sustainable economy task force, an environmental data base and a healthy soils tax
  • Eight bills are stuck in Senate Judiciary, some hopelessly so. Another three were killed in that committee. Two bills are stuck in House Appropriations and three were killed there.
  • Those are not the only two committees where bills are stalled. Indeed, one thing we are going to report in the Report Card is to identify how many hearings (committee or floor) each bill achieves. This is a measure of how of seriously Democrats support bills. If a bill has zero, one, or even two hearings and then stalls, that signifies a lack of will to make the bill law. My suspicion is that we will find that environmental bills had a small fraction of hearings when compared to other bills.
  • Something is different in Senate Judiciary. Yesterday I listened to the entire SJC hearing. It was entirely different on so many fronts. There was absolutely no nit-picking of bill language and offering of multiple detailed amendments, a practice employed persistently by Sen. Cervantes and even more so by Sen. Ivey-Soto. In some instances it seems the questioning is actually identifying very legitimate legal ambiguity in the bill. But often it seems to be about showmanship that can border on badgering the bill sponsor. But yesterday, this kind questioning and amendments were entirely absent, so much so that Sen. Moores quipped: “Ivey-Soto can’t possible be in this hearing. I haven’t heard a single amendment. I question our having a quorum.” In any case, as a result of the businesslike approach, Sen. Cervantes nimbly navigated through about 14 bills in 5 hours. They will be back at it at 2 pm today with one cannabis bill and HB 47 Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options at the top of the agenda.
  • Soon committee hearings will become less frequent and shorter. With a huge number of bills requiring final floor approval in either the Senate or House, we will begin to see marathon floor hearings, squeezing out the opportunity for committees to meet. The scramble to achieve committee quorums will be frantic.
  • House Committees have virtually stopped hearing House bills. In today’s Committee agendas, out of about 50 bills, only one is a House bill as committees begin to prioritize bills that are nearing the House floor and then heading to the Governor. While not quite as pronounced, the Senate is beginning to follow this practice, as well. Barring a miracle, any Senate or House bill that has not passed through that chamber, is effectively dead.
  • Stay tuned. If you think the last few weeks have been hectic, hang on.

We will continue to update this post throughout the week so you can easily keep up to date. The alert will be used to guide you in advocating in the last week. We have not provided summaries of the bills as it would make the piece far too long. So, I’d suggest writing down the numbers of bills you want to take action on and then going to our Bills We Support page and hunt down bill summaries. So with no further adieu a Legislative Rainbow. Recall: Blue is passed. Green is one step away. Yellow has some hope. Orange is on life support. Red is dead.

HJR-1 Permanent Fund for Early Childhood Amendment. Is in Senate Finance today and then only must pass on the Senate Floor. We will know our message to Senate Dems once we have results of the SFC hearing.

HB 7 / SB 10 Repeal Abortion Ban. Signed into law.

HB 12 Cannabis Regulation Act. Has passed through the House and Senate Rules and is sitting in Sen. Judiciary. At Friday’s SJC hearing, the chair, Sen. Cervantes, indicated that it would be heard on time to get to the floor. We get this, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to push Sen. Judiciary Dems to press Cervantes to bring the bill soon.

HB 16 Rural Opportunities Act must pass only Senate Rules before it goes to the Senate floor. This one should get done; it has passed two committees and the House floor without a single “no: vote. A win.

HB 20 Healthy Workplace Act AKA, Paid Sick Leave.  Has just one Senate Committee, Sen. Tax Business and Transportation, before going to the Senate Floor. With the Governor having blessed this bill, I think it will pass. A very good sign is that STBTC has scheduled this bill first on its Monday agenda. Another win.

HB 40 Private Detention Facility Moratorium Act.  The bill has been stuck in House Appropriations since Feb 16. In a HAFC, the Chair questioned the appropriation and asked that it get a new Financial Impact Report. No action since then. Very likely this is now dead.  

HB 47 Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options. At Friday’s SJC hearing, the chair, Sen. Cervantes, indicated that the bill would be heard on time to get to the floor. This bill is scheduled to be heard today in SJC and then heads to the floor. Unless Sen. Ivey-Soto or Sen. Cervantes amend this bill to death, it will get to the governor.

HB 86 Native American Internet Library and Education. It only passed one House Committee and has been stuck in House Appropriations since Feb. 4. It can’t make it within a week. Sadly, it is dead.

HB 149 / SB 66 Installment Loan Lending Rates. HB 149 hasn’t moved, but its companion bill SB 66 has. SB 66 has only one stop left, House Judiciary (scheduled for Monday), and then to the House Floor. I think this is the year for this bill, but call/emails to House Judiciary asking for SB 66 to be passed can’t hurt. I was told today to focus on Rep. Alcon, Rep. Cadena and Speaker Egolf. We hold an 8-4 advantage in this committee, so it is almost inconceivable this bill goes down, but best to be certain.

HB 203 Health Security Planning and Design. While stalled in House Appropriations, the bill sponsor cleverly developed another strategy using Junior Bill funding to support the planning and design process. This is even better than had HB 203 passed. Victory.

HB 207 Food Hunger and Farm Act.  Stuck in House Appropriations and Finance since Feb. 22. It is an awfully long way from the finish line. The bill would require a major push at this point especially since HAFC is the gatekeeper for legislation. It is likely dead.

HB 236 Public Banking Act. Killed in House Appropriations via tabling motion. Received only one no vote on tabling motion. Sadly, dead for this year.

HB 291 Tax Changes. The bill has passed through the House and through Senate Tax Business and Transportation. Sen. Wirth introduced a significant amendment that improved it, adding more progressivity to the bill. It now goes to Senate Finance where, no doubt, some of the progressivity will be removed. This will be heard as it is a key part of the budget, but emails to SFC members would be a good idea using our one-pager on this.

SJR 3 Environmental Review Act (AKA Green Amendment). Passed through Senate Rules on Feb 10 and has been stuck in Senate Judiciary since then. It is very unlikely to get a hearing in this committee. I suspect this bill is on life support, if not dead.

SJR 4 Review of Salaries Every Two Years, AKA Paid Legislature. Passed Senate Rules 8-3 on Feb 1. Parked in Senate Judiciary since then. Unless action is taken this weekend, I’m afraid this most important bill is dead.

SB 83 Local Choice Energy.  Passed Senate Conservation on Feb 10 and sat in Senate Tax Business and Transportation for six weeks before being tabled with two Democrat Senators voting with Republicans to table the bill. It is now dead. Senator Hickey and Senator Padilla both voted with the GOP.

SB 86 Use of Water in Gas and Oil Operations.  This bill passed Senate Conservation on Feb. 10 and has sat in the Sen. Judiciary queue since then. One can’t be optimistic with less than two weeks left in the session and the bill stuck for a month in SJC. So, another environmental bill stuck in committee and still needing to pass through House. Not likely.

SB 112 Sustainable Education Task Force. The bill has passed through the Senate and House Environment and Natural Resources. On Sunday, the bill passed its last hearing in House State, Election and Indian Affairs. So, on to the House Floor. Almost certainly a win.

SB 155 Energy Transition Act Changes.  Tabled in Senate Judiciary with Senator Cervantes and Sen Duhigg joining the GOP to table. Chair Sen. Cervantes allowed ten minutes of public comment from the gas and oil industry, affording them the opportunity to trot out one unemployed worker after another describing how they need the ETA for the funds supporting them and their community. Sen. Cervantes never allowed rebuttal explaining that none of that relief would be jeopardized by the changes proposed. This and the seeming loss of the Public Banking Act are our two most depressing defeats.

Priority Bills

HB 4 NM Civil Rights Act. Passed the House and all Senate Committees, even SJC, and now is on the House Floor. A win.

HB 9 Climate Solutions Act. Passed House Energy on Feb. 9 but has sat in House State Election and Indian Affairs since then. Effectively the bill is dead.

HB 15 Sustainable Building Tax Credit. On March 13, this passed Sen Tax Business Transportation and so only has a Senate vote to move to the Governor’s desk. A win.

HB 50. Private Right of Action.  Passed through two committees before being withdrawn. The bill is dead.

HB 51 Environmental Database Act. Passed through the House and Senate Conservation and then on March 13 passed SJC unanimously. A win.

HB 85 Yazzie / Martinez Response Funding. Passed House Education on Feb 2 and hasn’t budged from House Appropriations. Very unlikely to emerge. Likely dead.

HB 89 Healthy Soil Tax Refund. The bill has sailed through House and Senate and is now on the Senate floor, one step from the Governor’s desk. Given its unanimous 67-0 vote on the House floor, the only enemy of this bill is time.  A likely win.

HB 95 Water Administration. Unfortunately, Rep. Romero has told me this bill is dead. I will explore the reason.

HB 106 / SB 84 Community Solar Act.  HB 106 has not moved as bill sponsors opted to focus on SB 84, which passed through the Senate but was heavily amended and weakened on the Senate floor. The integrity of the bill was restored in House Environment. On Sunday, in House State Government Elections and Indian Affairs the bill was amended to secure support from the utility industry. It continues to mystify why we feel we must placate industry, but the bill sponsors felt this concession was needed to pass and recall our shock in 2019 when the House failed to pass community solar. The bill is now on to the House floor. Unfortunately, even should it pass, the bill would have to return to the Senate for “concurrence.” We will be sending out action alerts both before the floor vote and the Senate concurrence vote. Fingers crossed. This bill still has a chance.

HB 110 Phased-In Minimum Wage.  Passed House Labor Veterans and Military Affairs on Feb 4 and hasn’t moved from House Community and Economic Development.

HB 111 Housing Discrimination Changes. Passed on the House floor and then on Friday, Senate Health and Public Affairs passed it on a 5-1 vote. So it is on to Senate Judiciary, the final hurdle to get to a Senate vote. Time is the enemy here and we need to ask SJR to schedule this ASAP.

HB 124 State Agency Sensitive Information. HB 124 has been withdrawn in favor of the companion bill SB 75, which has advanced through the House and Senate Committees and now is on the Senate floor. Time is its only opponent, a big win for our immigrant community.

HB 163 Require One Semester One Semester of Financial Literacy. Passed on the House Floor unanimously and its one Senate hearing. On to the Senate floor. Another likely win.

HB 193 Extreme Risk Protection Order Changes. Unfortunately, the bill was withdrawn on March 9. I am researching what happened to this bill. This is a big loss as the original Extreme Risk bill has serious holes in the bill preventing a person from harming themselves or others during an extreme situation.

HB 209 / SB 278 State Indian Child Welfare Act. SB 278 never budged but HB 209 passed on the House Floor by a bipartisan 53-15 vote. Assigned to one Senate committee, unfortunately SJC, so there are a lot of bills ahead of it. Time is the only opponent. Calls to SJC members are needed.

HB 211 / SB 199 (now SB 15 as a substitute bill) Independent Redistricting. SB 199 (now SB 15) was amended, weakening it somewhat substantially, but is still worth supporting. HB 211 is House Appropriations and will go nowhere. SB 15 is on the House Floor. If SB 15 passes on the House Floor it would go to the Senate Floor for concurrence. This is another bill significantly weakened by amendments.

SJR 22 Ranked Choice Voting – Dead. Never got out of first committee, Senate Rules.

SB 8 Local Govt. Air Quality Regulations – Passed Senate 23:15; Passed HJC. Now to the House Floor.

SB 58 Electric Vehicle Tax Credit – Dead. Never made it out of first committee, STBTC.

SB 100 Major & Minor Ballot Nominations (Fusion Voting) – Never made it out of first committee, SRC.

SB 132 Photovoltaic Systems in New Homes – In STBTC since 2/11. So way too much ground to cover in too little time.

SB 149 Prohibit New Fracking Leases – In SJC since 2/17. Not enough time to re-emerge.

SB 296 Increase Penalties for Enviro Violations – In SJC since 2/18  No chance.

SB 412 16- & 17-Year-Olds As Qualified Electors – Amended in Senate Rules. In SJC since 3/5. Not enough time to pass.

The success of our efforts depends upon our working very hard this last week to ensure that all fifteen bills in green get to the Governor along with one or two of those in yellow to join them on the Governor’s desk.

And so, today we do not abandon the project:

  • 9 am House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs with Community Solar up first and SB 112 Sustainable Economy Task Force first and second on agenda and needing only to pass here to get to the House floor.
  • 2pm Senate Tax Business and Transportation is hearing HB 20 Healthy Workplaces Act AKA Paid Sick learve;
  • 2 pm Senate Finance with HJR 1 being heard and is third on the agenda.
  • 3 pm Senate Judiciary with HB 47 Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options third on the agenda and then to the Senate floor.
  • Next Sunday, we rest!

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne



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