This category will fill with information on the 30-day legislative session that begins on Jan. 18, 2022.

Indian Child Welfare Act Passes House with Bipartisan Support

Bill would honor tribal sovereignty and help Native American families preserve culture

Santa Fe, NM-  HB 135, the Indian Child Welfare Act, which would require New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families Division (CYFD) to prioritize placing Native American children within their tribes and keeping Native families together, passed the House today by a vote of 52 to 12.

When Native American children are placed into custody outside of tribal and familial environments, it can result in children becoming disconnected from their cultural identity and heritage. HB 135 would also require CYFD to help children determine and establish tribal membership. Placing Native children within their tribe would protect family units and preserve traditions and cultures. 

This bill would provide many of the same protections for New Mexico’s Native American children as the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which is currently before the US Supreme Court and could be struck down.

Read more ...

Housing Modernization Bill Passes House Floor

Bill would expand legal recourse and protections for renters

Santa Fe, NM- HB 65, which modernizes New Mexico’s legal protections for renters, passed the House today by a vote of38 to 27. The bill would expand legal recourse for renters through several key provisions.

HB 65 allows residents more time to make rent payments, reduces the amount of late fees an owner may charge, and increases the amount of time a tenant has to prepare for court or to vacate the premises, if they are ordered to do so. 

“This is about updating our policies to level the playing field for tenants in our legal system,” said Representative Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe). 

HB 52 is sponsored by Representatives Romero (D-Santa Fe), Kristina Ortez (D-Taos), Angelica Rubio (D-Las Cruces), and Linda Serrato (D-Santa Fe).

Roundup at the Roundhouse 020622

Sunday, February 6, 2022
WHAT'S HAPPENING
DEBATE CONTINUES TOMORROW MORNING OVER VOTING RIGHTS BILL

The Senate Rules Committee tomorrow will continue to hash over over SB 8, the voting rights bill. Democrats say this will make voting access easier, but the many elements of this legislation are not only confusing but will make New Mexico elections less secure. Lawmakers did kill a part of the bill that would have allowed 16 year-olds to vote. But this bill also requires unsolicited backend registration, distributes personal information to third parties without their permission, allows felons still on probation or parole to vote, requires drop boxes that can lead to ballot harvesting, mails ballots without an application request and it compromises online voter registration. There are too many ways voter integrity can be compromised. The bottom line is this bill will undermine confidence in election results.

SENATE PASSES TEACHER PAY RAISE LEGISLATION

New Mexico teachers are closer to getting a pay raise.
The Senate yesterday passed SB 1 35-0. The bill would boost minimum starting teacher pay statewide to $50,000 per year. It would also increase salary levels for more experienced teachers under New Mexico's three-tier teacher pay system. With New Mexico facing a recent surge of educator retirements and more than 1,000 open teaching jobs statewide, backers of the bill described it as a crucial part of a broader recruitment and retention effort. While it's important to raise teacher pay, the state must make sure we have accountability in our school systems.

The bill now heads to the House.

LAWMAKERS CLEAR TOXIC WASTE LEGISLATION
The House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee has unanimously voted to approve legislation addressing toxic waste left at uranium mine sites in the state. HB 164 would require the state Environment Department to coordinate efforts among various agencies to clean up and reclaim legacy uranium mine and mill sites. The bill appropriates $350,000 for first-year cleanup efforts.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE WEBSITE:

Gov. Lujan Grisham priority legislation to increase teacher pay passes Senate unanimously

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Saturday issued the following statement following the state Senate unanimously voting to approve Senate Bill 1, increasing base salary levels for New Mexico teachers by an average of 20%:

“New Mexico educators deserve better compensation, it’s as simple as that – and we are delivering it. I want New Mexico teachers to be the best-compensated in the region, and today we are one step closer to making that a reality. I thank the Senate for their support of this initiative, a top priority of mine for the current legislative session.”

Sponsored by Senator Mimi Stewart and Senator Siah Correa Hemphill, Senate Bill 1 increases minimum educator salary levels in the state’s three-tier licensure system to $50,000, $60,000, and $70,000, representing an average 35% total increase in base salary levels since Gov. Lujan Grisham came into office. Coupled with a 7% raise for New Mexico education staff included in the governor’s budget recommendation, higher salaries for teachers will increase the average educator salary to $64,006, putting the state on par with the national average and ahead of surrounding states.

Read more ...

Senator Gay Kernan, Senator David Gallegos Applaud Senate Passage of Teacher Pay Raise Legislation

Senate Bill 1 would make teacher pay in New Mexico the most competitive in the region

SANTA FE – Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1 on a unanimous 35-0 vote. The bill raises teacher salaries by $10,000 per tier, making the average teacher pay in New Mexico the most competitive in the region.

"I want to thank Senator Stewart for acknowledging the contributions of the oil and gas industry when it comes to funding education in New Mexico," said Senator Gay Kernan (District 42 -Eddy and Lea), a former educator. "The challenges of this past year have led to teacher shortages all over the state. This significant investment is a good first step in our efforts to retain and attract the educators we need to give our children the best education we can."

Read more ...

"Glory's Law" Clears First Hurdle

SB158, sponsored by Senator Craig Brandt, would prohibit discrimination against transplant recipient based on physical or mental disability

SANTA FE – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed "Glory's Law" with a unanimous vote of approval. Senate Bill 158, sponsored by Senate Republican Whip, Senator Craig Brandt (District 40-Sandoval), would ban discrimination against a transplant recipient based solely on a physical or mental disability. The legislation is named after a local child, Glory Sellers, who has down syndrome and a heart defect.

Senator Brandt issued the following statement after the Committee's endorsement of the bill:

"If this bill saves even one life, it will be worth all the time and hard work we have put into it. Glory's Law has far greater implications than receiving medical transplants. This is a message to every New Mexican with a disability that they are no less worthy of life, and life to the fullest, than any of us. I am pleased to have the Committee's support and am eager to see this bill though the process and signed into law."

Roundup at the Roundhouse 020422

Friday, February 4, 2022
WHAT'S HAPPENING
HOUSE PASSES RECORD BUDGET THAT INCREASES SPENDING; LAWMAKERS REJECT REPUBLICANS' SENSIBLE AND RESPONSIBLE ALTERNATIVE SPENDING PLAN

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE WEBSITE, where you can put in the bill numbers for further information.

The New Mexico Senate will soon take up a record state budget that was approved by the House by a vote of 56-13. The $8.47 billion budget is the largest in state history and increases spending by about 14%. All 13 members of the House who voted against the budget are Republicans. There are serious concerns whether the billion-dollar boost in spending will be sustainable and whether oil and gas revenues will continue to pour into the coffers at such a robust rate.

The budget was passed just after Republicans offered a strong budget alternative called the Putting New Mexico Working Families First Plan. That proposal is based on sound fiscal principles that are designed to directly address the needs of New Mexico working families while also enhancing incomes, and preparing the state to withstand the effects of increasing inflation, higher utility rates and volatile gasoline prices.

The Republican budget alternative also included a record $802 million tax break and sensible, targeting spending. But the Democrat-led House rejected it.

SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH CLEAN FUEL STANDARDS

Read more ...

Senate Republicans Issue Statement on "American Indian Day" and Senate Memorial 18

Memorial honors the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women

SANTA FE – Today, the Senate Republican Caucus issued the following statement in honor of "American Indian Day" and Senate Memorial 18:

"New Mexico is proud to be home to twenty-three sovereign Native American nations, tribes, and pueblos. Today, we honor the contributions of the Native American people to our state's artistic, economic, social, religious, and political cultures. As the original inhabitants of this land, we acknowledge the unique challenges they face and the admirable ways by which they have worked to overcome them."

"We also recognize the sad reality that Native American women in New Mexico have the highest rate of homicide victims among all racial and ethnic groups. With hundreds of active, unsolved missing person cases, there is much work to be done at the state and federal level to end the violence inflicted on the Native American community. We pledge our support to this effort and we thank Senator Shannon Pinto for bringing public awareness to this pressing matter."

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