Good Morning, New Mexico Activists:
We want to express our deep gratitude to all of you who participated in democracy this session. There are some wins to celebrate, and there are a number of disappointments. I can’t imagine what kind of state we’d live in if it weren’t for the thousands of activists/advocates like you who put their passion and energy into fighting for social, environmental, and economic justice in New Mexico. Thank you!
Today, we’ll give you an overview of good bills that passed, good bills that died, and bad bills that were defeated. We’ll save the analysis of the somewhat-baffling and not-always-democratic legislative process for another time. Also in a future note, we’ll look at which “Democrats” voted too often with Republicans and talk about how we might find replacements for those remaining “DINOs.”
Our analysis of what we learned from this and prior sessions will be a sustained process over many months. We formed Retake because we felt that we needed a large well-informed progressive movement capable of passing transformational legislation. But while we and our allies have effectively defeated many bad ideas over the last several years, we have not passed as much transformational legislation as we would have liked. We want to spend time with you and our allies to consider how we can develop and pass more transformational legislation, especially in relation to climate change.
For now, let’s celebrate some wins! Here are fifteen good bills that passed. Not all have been signed by the Governor, but we hope they will be. Those signed by the Gov. as of 3-20-23 are marked with an asterisk. A few of these breezed through, but others never would have made it without pressure activists across the state like you. So, congratulations! We should feel very good about these wins for our state. We did especially well for children, if you overlook the failure to do anything about combatting climate change or creating a livable future for those children.
- HB 4 Voting Right Protections: Thank goodness we’re a Blue state and got this done!
- *HB 7 Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare: With SB 13, quite obviously a very important bill; NM showed regional, even national leadership.
- *HB 9 Unlawful Access to Firearm by Minor: Holding adult gun owners accountable, at last.
- *HB 95 Renewable Energy Office in State Land Office: A good step in the right direction.
- HB 142 Generating Facility and Mine Remediation: After decades of trying to close San Juan Generating Station, a cesspool of toxins leeching into the water was the legacy. This bill results in a comprehensive plan to fully remediate and restore the habitat. Thank you, New Energy Economy for never giving up or giving in.
- HB 400 State-Administered Health Coverage Plan: Wider access to health coverage is a good thing, but we hope this study also examines and addresses the rising costs of Medicaid.
- HB 547 Tax Changes: We didn’t get everything we wanted, but this may be the single most impactful piece of legislation passed this session. Tripling the child tax credit will lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty. What do you think an extra $1,800/year means to a low-income, single mom of three? We should feel very good about getting this done. Thank you, NM Voices for Children for leading the charge.
- *SB 1 Regional Water System Resiliency: With SB 337, we’re finally paying attention to water. Yay!
- SB 4 Healthy Universal School Meals: Free, healthy meals for every New Mexican student. A HUGE deal.
- SB 9 Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund: An historic investment in land, water, and cultural projects.
- SB 13 Reproductive Health Provider Protections: Essential in the current national political climate.
- SB 19 Law Enforcement & Public Safety Telecomm: A bill compromised with amendments, but still a step forward, and a bill developed by constituents like us. We need to learn from their process (Indivisible SOS Santa Fe).
- *SB 53 Storage of Certain Radioactive Waste: We did it; we stopped a mega corporation from turning NM into the nation’s Sacrifice Zone for high-level radioactive waste.
- *SB 64 No Life Sentence for Juveniles: Thank you, Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez.
- SB 337 Water Security Planning Act: We’re finally giving water the attention it needs.
Here are eighteen good bills that didn’t pass, with notes about where they died. Some of these were deliberately killed, others ran out of time, and still others admittedly needed fine tuning to succeed.(Committee abbreviations are defined near the end of this note.)
- HB 25 Minimum Wage Increase & Indexing – Died in HCEDC
- HB 42/SB 5 Public Health & Climate Resiliency – Died in HAFC/SFC
- HB 50 Possession of Large Capacity Gun Magazine – Died in HCPAC
- HB 100 14-Day Waiting Period for Firearm Sales – Died on House Floor
- HB 101 Large-Capacity Magazines & Assault Weapons – Died in HJC
- HB 432/SB 243 Plastic Waste Reduction Act – Died on House Floor/STBTC
- HJR 1 – Independent Redistricting Commission – Died in HJC
- HJR 2 Legislative Changes – Died on House Floor
- HJR 4/SJR 6 Environmental Rights (Green Amendment) – Died in HENRC/SRC
- HJR 8 Legislative Salaries – Died in SFC
- SB 11 Paid Family & Medical Leave Act – Died in HCEDC
- SB 44 Prohibit Firearms at Polling Places – Died on House Floor
- SB 57 Water Trust Fund – Died in SFC
- SB 99 Rent Control Prohibitions – Died in SHPAC
- SB 116 21 Years Old to Purchase or Possess Firearms – Died in SJC
- SB 140 NM Housing Trust Fund – Died in SFC
- SB 165 Local Choice Energy Act – Died in SJC
- SB 427 Firearm Sales Waiting Period – Died on Senate Floor.
Bad Bills We Helped Defeat – The biggest accomplishment this year may be defeating these bad bills. It’s important work, but fighting these bills takes a lot of energy away from advocacy for good bills!
- HB 12 Advanced Energy Technology Act – Died in HENRC
- HB 174 Underground Injection Fund – Died in HAFC
- HB 431 Local Govt. Utility Service Restrictions – Died in HGEIC
- SB 493 Brackish Water Reuse – Died on Senate Floor. We believe all your calls and emails kept it from being heard on the Senate Floor.
- SB 520 Clean Future Act – Died in SCONC.
Key to Committee Abbreviations
HAFC – House Appropriations & Finance
HCEDC – House Commerce & Economic Development
HCPAC – House Consumer & Public Affairs
HENRC – House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources
HJC – House Judiciary
SCONC – Senate Conservation
SFC – Senate Finance
SHPAC – Senate Health & Public Affairs
SJC – Senate Judiciary
SRC – Senate Rules
STBTC – Senate Tax, Business & Transportation
Please write to us at email@example.com with your thoughts about how the session went, what you’re grateful for, and what your biggest disappointments are.
And please join our Debrief Huddle tomorrow evening! Let’s start the conversation about how we can begin outsmarting the legislative process so we’re not just playing defense, but addressing the climate catastrophe that is clearly here, and helping forge a just transition to a more sustainable future in NM. We hope you’ll join us tomorrow, Weds., March 22, 6 – 7:30 p.m. to debrief the 2023 Session and start an important conversation. Maybe ask a friend or two to join. Register at this link.
In Gratitude & Solidarity,
Roxanne and Paul