After spending much of Sunday and Monday morning furiously texting House Reps to vote “no” on HB 228, I heard from Rep. McQueen that Egolf would only be calling Sen. bills for the rest of the session. BREATHE.
Mea culpa. This should have gone out last night, but that would have required me to finish writing it and I completely ran out of steam. More on this in our next Huddle in March, but note there will be no Huddle this week. Sorry, but we are beat, and if there is last-minute strategy to enact in the next two days, we will need time to craft Alerts and a Blog, as we are told there could be floor votes in both chambers right up until noon on Thursday, and we need to stay on top of that.
HB 132 (36% Loan Rate) Update
On Monday, we began texting Senate Judiciary members to encourage a swift hearing for HB 132, our treasured 36% rate cap bill that is so close to the Governor’s desk. Last year’s 36% version, SB 66, required three days of SJC hearings to move on. This year we don’t have 3 days and SJC is once again backlogged, despite Chair Cervantes making a Herculean effort to get bills heard. I texted him asking for HB 132 to get scheduled Monday only to hear seconds later that he had calendared it and it was on Monday’s agenda. I quickly joined the hearing, only to hear Chair Cervantes say that they could hear just one bill before having to head to a floor session. He pledged that once the floor session was over, he’d recall SJC for a marathon session, only to be informed that there would be a second floor session that day. He said SJC would meet before and after floor sessions, which I believe they did.
SJC is scheduled to meet again at 1:30 TODAY. There will only be 10 minutes of public comment, and speakers are being organized by the Fair Lending Coalition. But you can certainly call and email committee members to ask them to hear HB 132 before adjourning and to please vote “yes.” We have the votes on this committee, the issue is time. Once it passes SJC, it must go to the Senate Floor for a vote where, again, we have the votes. Then it goes to the House for a “concurrence” vote since the Senate made a small amendment to HB 132. Hopefully that will pass quickly. This will go down to the wire. And we need to get this done. Find contact info for Senate Judiciary on our website at this link. (They’re in alphabetical order, with House Committees first, then Senate.)
“Hydra-gen” Rears a 4th Head, but
It’s Slayed Again
We were alerted by Sen. Wirth’s office that Rep. Townsend (R) introduced HB 220 on Monday, another dummy bill on Hydrogen Hub. We immediately went to review it, but it had not been published yet. So I moved on, assuming it was too late for this kind of hijinks. But I was puzzled and troubled that the House Minority Floor Leader, Rep. Townsend, would be trying to advance the Governor’s agenda.
Feeling that HB 220 was much ado about nothing and that SJC wasn’t going to meet for hours, I followed Roxanne into town so she could drop of her car for some overdue repairs. As I waited for her to check in the car, I got a semi-frantic call from Rep. Tara Lujan, telling me that HB 220, the dummy bill, was being heard in House Commerce & Economic Development today and she was worried something had been brokered and was gonna move fast. Well, thanks to the terrible internet service in Santa Fe, I was unable to log on to Nmlegis.gov to verify this or review the committee sub that must have been published. I texted my pal Mariel Nanasi, who got on to the committee hearing too late, but watched the end of the recording and reported that HB 220 had been tabled. BREATHE.
Last night I decided to be true to my Valentine’s card to Roxanne and be her husband, not her co-founder. We needed a break in the worst way and gnawing at my brain was the text from our oldest son” please get some rest, dad, your body is telling you something.” So we unplugged, had dinner and wine, and watched a hilarious stand-up comedy routine.
I slept 10 hours, waking up knowing I was behind. I’d started this post but had some catching up to do. I quickly texted Think New Mexico to get caught up on HB 132 (above and in this morning’s alert). Then I did some digging to verify nothing new and nefarious had surfaced regarding Hydrogen, and that the Speaker had stuck to his pledge to only hear Senate Bills. A reliable House Rep. told me that there was now a supplemental agenda being used, with only Senate bills, and that no House bills or House memorials would be discussed on the floor. BREATHE.
But he also told me that the one long-shot remaining for Hydrogen would be if SJC inserted HB 228 into HB 55, a highly popular Public Private partnership bill focused on broadband. I checked and indeed, HB 55 has been sitting in SJC for almost a week, but it is NOT on today’s agenda. BREATHE.
It appears the beast has been slain once and for all, but it sucked so much time and energy out of the session that some very good bills never got to the finish line.
We will have an update tomorrow in an Alert and blog post. There may well be an action related to HB 132 if it passes out of SJC today. And we are told that both the House and the Senate will use every minute Thursday to try to pass bills that only need that one last vote to get to the Governor. Stay tuned.
In solidarity & hope,
Paul & Roxanne
Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation