With House Bill 1 passage, New Mexico becomes first state to deliver emergency relief to families amid pandemic and lack of strong bipartisan support
Santa Fe, N.M. – Yesterday, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed emergency relief for hardworking New Mexicans struggling to stay afloat during the worst pandemic outbreak of 2020.
In a Special Session called by the governor and conducted largely virtually from legislative offices and homes around the state, House Bill 1, sponsored by Representative Patty Lundstrom (D-Gallup) and Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) utilizes $319 million in federal CARES Act money, and $10.2 million from the state's general fund to deliver critical emergency relief in the form of food and housing assistance, direct unemployment support, increased vaccine and contact tracing, and small business grants to families and communities hard-hit by COVID-19 and economic fallout.
"New Mexicans have remained incredibly resilient throughout this pandemic, but without support they are facing an incredibly uncertain future," said House Appropriations and Finance Committee Chair, Representative Patty Lundstrom (D-Gallup). "The relief we pass this Special Session will go directly to hardworking families who need some help to keep their children fed, a roof over their head, and the heat and bills paid. Our future as a state depends on how well we keep our families secure through this pandemic."
"Unlike Washington, this legislature knows it is hardworking families that have built this state, and it is hardworking families that will build our recovery," said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe). "New Mexico's future is dependent on state government doing its job, and right now the most urgent need is to lift families through this pandemic, and setting the stage for economic opportunities. With near unanimous bipartisan support for this bill, and knowing New Mexico is one of the first – if not the first – state to deliver emergency relief, proves New Mexican leadership is uniquely responsive during this troubling time. I hope national leadership takes notice."
Largely a spending bill, House Bill 1 uses remaining CARES Act funding set to expire at the end of the year. Of the $319 million available in CARES Act funding, House Bill 1 appropriates $194 million in supplemental income assistance for up to 160,000 New Mexicans eligible for unemployment benefits in the form of a one-time $1,200 disbursement; $5 million to individuals who did not receive a federal stimulus check to be distributed in one-time $750 payments; $100 million in small business grants up to $50,000 for small, locally-owned businesses that is administered by the New Mexico Finance Authority; $15 million for emergency housing assistance for families unable to pay their rent, mortgages, home liens, or other associated home costs up to $1,500 a month for three months; and $5 million in emergency food assistance to food banks and other food assistance organizations.
House Bill 1 also includes two expenditures from the state's general fund: $10 million for COVID-19 vaccine distribution infrastructure, testing and hiring of contact tracers to effectively track COVID-19 in New Mexico's communities, and $200,000 for the Administrative Office of the Courts to support our judicial system in implementing and compliance of the state's public health orders.
Having passed the House 59-11, and the Senate 33-5, House Bill 1 goes to the Governor's desk. If signed by the Governor, House Bill 1 becomes effective immediately.