Dear New Mexico Activists,
The Special Legislative Session begins at noon today and it’s clear there will be some hotly contested issues––GOP leadership is unhappy with several bills not directly related to fixing the state budget crisis. Last night the Governor announced these issues will be on the call:
- Police reform measures that would require officers to wear body cameras, ban chokeholds, and make “police disciplinary history a matter of public record,” along with a bill to create a state commission to examine the issue of qualified immunity.
- A bill sponsored by Senators Daniel Ivey Soto and Linda Lopez that would streamline the election process during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing county clerks to send out absentee ballots to all registered voters without requiring voters to request an absentee ballot. This would reduce the workflow for clerks who were overwhelmed by the huge volume of absentee ballot requests and the influx of absentee ballots submitted during the primary last month.
- A proposal to tap the state’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund to provide low-interest loans for small businesses and municipalities, and a measure to waive penalties and interest for people and businesses behind on their property tax and gross receipts tax payments.
- A bill to give the Governor greater authority during the pandemic to allow for services such as electronic notary services.
Language for these bills has not yet been published, but the Governor also indicated that the Special Session should be concluded by Saturday evening, so things will have to move quickly. In the meantime, even though we don’t have bill numbers yet, you can call and email your Senator and House member to express your support for the issues listed in the bullets above.
The only bills published so far are two budget and revenue bills, 30 and 40 pages long. We have a researcher looking at these bills today and will try to summarize them for you soon. If you like combing through these kinds of complex, detailed bills, you can find them at this link.
If you’re getting caught up and didn’t have a chance to read yesterday’s Alert, you can find it at this link.
We will update you when more details are available, possibly as soon as this afternoon or evening. We are grateful to you for your commitment to social, economic, and environmental justice in New Mexico.
In solidarity and hope,
Roxanne and Paul