Great News on a Few Fronts

While several small loan rate bills were deemed not to be germane, Rep Herrera has introduced a rate bill (36%) that appears to have been crafted to be deemed germane. And we have an important and informative Huddle tonight, details below.

Before we get to the grist, I want to thank you for the many emails and comments on the post concerning my health. It was a tough few days for me and for the amazing Roxanne. She doted on my every need with compassion, patience, and humor. Plus in her sleep she dreamt of what had caused my health crisis. Lo and behold, we went on line and found that she may be right. Since my stroke I have been taking a daily dose of aspirin at breakfast. Last Thursday I forgot to take it with breakfast, so I took it with dinner. Unfortunately, I also had a glass of red wine with dinner and those two things don’t dance together and can cause extreme pain that mirrors the pain from a heart attack. So, the remedy is ever so easy. Don’t take aspirin and red wine together. I am a lifetime red wine drinker, but fortunately have never been an aspirin fan, so this never cropped up. Aspirin with red wine no mas. I can’t honestly say I am “taking it easy” as many of you advised, but come late February when the Session ends, I will take a much-needed break.

Legislative Strategy Huddle, TODAY, Weds, Jan. 26, 6-7 p.m. We’ll have water experts Norm Gaume and water advocate Ralph Wrons to discuss the best of the many water bills being considered this session, and Angela Merkert, Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity, to talk about HB75 Public Banking Act. You must register to participate. Click here to register. 

If you want to understand the ins and outs of the legislative process, the Huddle is a great way to start: very informal and informative, where the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.

Hydrogen Hub hearing tomorrow at 8:30 am House Energy Environment and Natural Resources. Check our Alert for details.

Please make time to be there and offer public comment in opposition. This is huge.

Look for a one-pager on the hydrogen hub to be posted on our “bills we support/oppose page by noon today.

How To “Take it easy” Over the Weekend

Last year, Mary Feldblum, Director of Health Security for NM, and I worked the phones with legislator to secure the “junior bill” funding needed to underwrite the first phase of the health Security Study and Design process. In a hectic 48 hours we generated $575K in funds, enough for year one. Mary is back in 2022 with SB 80, seeking $1.5M to complete the study process. But in anticipation of that amount being reduced by amendment and taking no chances that it might not pass, the ever-vigilant Mary Feldblum called me, and on Saturday and Sunday I was texting and calling legislators continuously while watching four of the best NFL playoff games I’ve ever seen. So it was sort of relaxing. Well three days later, the tally is now at $700K and counting. There are still some possible technical issues, as the wording on the commitments are required to be precise, but unless we get a huge surprise, we have a buffer against SB 80 allocation being cut in half. Great work, Mary. Now I’ll try to explain “junior bill money.”

Junior Bill Money

Junior bill money isn’t part of every session, but when it is, every legislator is “given” an amount of money they can assign to local projects or to some bill that may not have enough funding to fulfill its purpose. This year that amount is $600K per Senator and $360k per House Rep. No chump change. So, for example, when I texted Rep. Andrea Romero, she said she had committed all her funds to support the work called for in her Water Data Act, one of our high-priority bills. I moved on, respecting that Andrea’s choice made sense. But my question is, does this system make sense? And does a process make sense where the cumulative commitment of milllions in public funding is made largely outside public debate?

And when the state has a huge surplus and an $8B budget, should legislators be asked to parcel their share of junior bill money to make government work? Is there a more democratic, deliberative, and transparent process through which we fund good programs? Your thoughts?

HB132 Interest Rates For Certain Loans

Last session, Retake and others took House leadership to task for the dismantling of SB66, a straight 36% rate cap that sailed through the Senate and was working its way to the House floor. But in House Judiciary, Rep. Alcon amended it to a 99% loan rate, which passed that committee and then was amended again on the House Floor, only to then die when there was no time to reconcile the very different Senate and House versions.

Well, Retake now wants to tip its hat to Dem House leadership. In a Town Hall meeting last week with Speaker Egolf and Senate Leader Wirth, Speaker Egolf promised a new House bill on rates and one that he was sure would be deemed germane. He promised we would be happy. With Rep. Roybal Caballero’s rate bill deemed not germane, we were worried. But lo and behold, now HB132, sponsored by Rep. Susan Herrera, has been introduced and it is nothing short of brilliant:

  • To ensure it is deemed germane, the bill includes funds to support financial literacy programs and this isn’t just some transparent effort to bypass the rules governing being deemed germane. Financial literacy is a way to address one of the root causes of consumer’s opting for 175% loans in the first place. So it is a relevant and powerful addition to the bill.
  • The bill does not include anything but a 36% rate cap, no 99% for small loans. So in this regard, it mirrors the bill Rep Herrera introduced in 2021 and another straight 36% bill, SB 66, introduced by Sen. Soules in 2021.So that is great.
  • Now we have to hope the bill moves quickly and avoids amendments in House Judiciary.

For now, we have a great bill, artfully drafted and very much worthy of Retake’s and your support. We will have talking points ready for you in a day or so. The bill has been assigned to House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee and then House Judiciary, a potential land mine. But given that it would then go to the Senate, any amendments adopted in that committee that harm the bill can be undone by amendment in the Senate. So for now, Speaker Egolf and Rep. Herrera have done their job. This isn’t a call to action, but a thank-you to both of them is in order:

We are nearly done finalizing our list of bills, and there are lots of hearings going on. The best way to track the progress of the bills we support and oppose, is to get our Alerts. Click the Get Action Alerts button on the right of our home page. Each alert includes info on the bill being heard, contact info for the legislators hearing the bill, and speaking points. A great way to advocate effectively at the Roundhouse.

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

P.S. Just say no to red wine with red wine!

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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1 reply

  1. Roxanne does good dreaming! Here’s to subconscious processing and may this be the entire explanation!

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