The Second Session of the 55th Legislature
Friday, February 18, 2022
30-DAY LEGISLATIVE SESSION CONCLUDES
New Mexicans have suffered from the Governor's nearly two-year-long COVID restrictions. There's been hyper-inflation, eco-price gouging, lost jobs, shuttered businesses and out-of-control crime. Many expected bipartisan support to correct the course during this legislative session. Still, despite initial good faith efforts from many lawmakers and key stakeholders to come together on a variety of issues, these efforts crashed and burned as the clock ran down.
"The broad agenda that Lujan Grisham and progressives attempted to pass was dead on arrival- for three years New Mexicans have seen the broken promises of a so-called progressive utopia," said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (R-Artesia). "Working families are seeing less of their paycheck due to higher gas prices, increased utility rates, and hyper-inflation. I think the results of this session speak volumes to the dissatisfaction of so many New Mexicans and how they are struggling to trust in a government so focused on making their lives harder."
There were, however, some victories for New Mexicans in this legislative session. House Republicans were effective in stopping many bad policies that the House Democrats aimed to use to double down on the previous three-years of their progressive agenda. The increase on New Mexico's gas tax, an attack on New Mexico's elections, and a hydrogen hub proposal were among efforts that were effectively blocked in rare bipartisan votes.
"For three years the progressives have rammed through their agenda with promises of transformative change, unfortunately New Mexicans are learning that their future has transformed into a dystopia," said House Republican Whip Rod Montoya (R-Farmington). "Our Republican caucus can go home knowing that we were effective in pushing back against what has amounted to destructive and failed policies. New Mexicans are waking up to the broken promises of the Governor and progressives out-of-touch agenda, and we are hearing them loud and clear."
GOVERNOR LIFTS INDOOR MASK MANDATE LESS THAN TWO HOURS AFTER END OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Right after the legislative session ended at noon yesterday, Gov. Lujan Grisham suddenly announced that she was lifting the state's indoor mask mandate. This was simply political expediency. While this is welcome news, one has to wonder--why then? This was strictly a political move. The mask mandate should have ended months ago. The Governor suffered defeats during the session, so she decided this was a good time to reverse her order. There was no science and no logic to her sudden decision.
NM HOUSE SPEAKER EGOLF ANNOUNCES HE'S NOT RUNNING FOR REELECTION
House Speaker Brian Egolf also made a surprising announcement: he is leaving the legislature. It's hoped his exit will bring a new era of cooperation between parties and one that will mean important progress for New Mexico. Egolf has consistently ignored Republican interests and promoted wild spending, higher taxes and progressive policies that have hurt our great state. While RPNM wishes Speaker Egolf well in his future endeavors, it's time for a Speaker who puts New Mexicans' interests first and who is dedicated to making the state a better place with sound, sensible policies that welcome Republican input and interests.
REPUBLICANS WIN IN EFFORTS TO PROTECT BALLOT SECURITY AND ELECTION INTEGRITY IN FINAL HOURS OF SESSION
Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate succeeded in blocking a major Election Overhaul bill that would have endangered the integrity of New Mexico elections and opened the door to potential fraud.
Republicans used use procedural moves and convincing arguments to ensure SB 144 did not pass in the legislature.
Progressive Democrats had tried to push SB 144 in an effort to "expand voter access" but it was, in fact, a calculated push that would have serious weakened election laws and enabled people to cheat and commit fraud.
Throughout the legislative session, Democrats had promoted several bills that would have:
allowed 16 year-olds to vote
established a permanent absentee voting list
required unsolicited backend voter registration
distributed your personal information to third parties without your permission
allowed felons voting rights before they paid their debts to society
required drop boxes in all counties—inviting ballot harvesting
allowed ballots to be mailed out without an application request
Republicans worked hard during the session and were successful in making sure these election bill provisions didn't pass. GOP lawmakers stood firm in their efforts to ensure election security.
"The fact that these dangerous election bills were prevented from passing is a testament to the dedication, hard work and integrity of our Republican Representatives and Senators in the Roundhouse," said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce. "The Democrats will do anything to move the goalposts and give them a political edge in elections. Their election legislation would have weakened ballot security, opened the door to ballot harvesting, promoted fraudulent ballots and hurt the integrity of our elections. Our GOP lawmakers should be commended."
CRIME PACKAGE GOING TO GOVERNOR'S DESK
Lawmakers in both Houses passed a crime package. HB 68 now goes to the Governor. The bill abolishes the statute of limitations on second-degree murder, giving prosecutors more time to bring charges and increases penalties for certain crimes involving a firearm. It would also tighten the supervision of criminal defendants released before trial, toughen penalties for violent offenders and offer bonuses to retain police officers. The legislation also creates the crime of operating a chop shop and makes it a third-degree felony.
LAWMAKERS APPROVE REPEAL OF TAX ON SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME
New Mexico retirees will be getting some financial relief. The legislature passed a tax package that includes repealing tax on social security income. There are some provisions, but about 90% of retirees will feel this tax relief. It's about time. We needed this repeal so we can keep retirees in our state and attract retirees to come here.
GOVERNOR'S CLEAN FUEL STANDARD ACT RUNS OUT OF GAS THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The Democrats joined Republicans in rejecting Gov. Lujan Grisham's Clean Fuel Standard Act proposal. It failed on a tie vote in the House. This was a bad energy bill that would have raised gasoline costs and impacted other goods for New Mexicans. This effort was one just to please environmentalists and would have had a serious effect on rural areas of the state.
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