Recap January 15th, 2019 Taos United/Taosenos Unidos Community Forum
This exciting and informative forum continued the focus from last month on legislation being considered in the 2019 NM legislative session. With only 2 months to get good bills passed, interest was high and everyone was energized.
NOTE: Some bill numbers are not yet available. See https://www.nmlegis.gov/ for updated information.
Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Mexico.
ACLU’s legislative focus and other issues
Many threats to civil liberties expected after the 2016 election have unfortunately come to pass. The ACLU has been successful in:
-stopping family separation
-stopping indefinite detention of asylum seekers
-curbing voting restrictions in some areas
In NM we see the possibility of a brighter future. ACLU bills supported:
HB51– re-words a 1960’s law still on the books criminalizing abortions in New Mexico. This is not enforced because of Roe v. Wade, but action is necessary in light of possible Roe v. Wade repeal.
HB89 Expands access to contraception
(Criminal Justice Reform — pivoting punishment to rehabilitation)
-reform of solitary confinement, legalization of recreational
marijuana, criminal record expungement and implementation of
New Mexico Safe standards.
(Immigrant Rights — goal is to place New Mexico among the top tier of states in treatment of migrants)
SB196 – would prohibit State and Local agencies from expending resources to enforce Federal immigration laws without a warrant. A previous version of this bill was vetoed by former governor Richardson.
HB141– creates a confidentiality policy for all State agencies that
prohibits government employees from disclosing sensitive personal
information to anyone outside of that State or local agency, thus
providing another measure of protection for immigrant
Peter recommends calls over emails, but personal visits to legislators are the gold standard.
Hamilton Brown, speaking on Getting Dark Money out of Politics
SB3 – Senator Peter Worth — codifies regulations previously implemented only as executive orders by Maggie Toulouse Oliver to make all contributions to elections completely transparent. “Independent expenditures” (i.e. those not made by a candidate, or a campaign) must be reported. Koch brother connected entities are opposed. This bill needs support to overcome special interests.
SB4 – Senator Peter Worth – amends voting act to allow public financing of elections
Senate Memorial 5 – recommends study on starting a state bank in New Mexico. North Dakota, which implemented their state bank in the early 20th century, is the model. A state bank would not compete with commercial banks or credit unions. It would function purely to hold New Mexico revenues and issue low-interest loans to New Mexico interests. A Santa Fe study concluded that at least in Santa Fe there wasn’t enough volume to make the proposition viable, but if implemented on a state level, (keeping our Permanent funds in our state instead of investing them with Wall Street companies), we could greatly benefit.
Eric Paterson of the Sierra Club updated us on environmental issues in the legislature. He feels that advocates are most effective when it’s an issue you are sincerely concerned about. He will provide a one-page summary of any of these bills to help you with your lobbying.
Priority Legislation (support unless noted)
HBx Omnibus Energy Bill
Requires that renewable energy comprise 70% of total retail
sales by 2040.
SBx Renewable Energy Requirements for Utilities (RPS)
SVx Energy Transition Act (Securitization)
SBx/HBx Energy Transition Act — LIKELY OPPOSE
SB186 Oil Conservation Division Powers and Duties – grants penalty powers to the Oil Conservation Commission + Dept.
SBx Increases Royalty Rates on State Trust Lands
SB76 Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests
SB136 Efficient Use of Energy Act Amendments
SBx Water Supply Fairness in Funding
SB39 Solar Market Development Tax Credit
HBx Ban Trapping on Public Lands
HBX Game Commission Legislative Appointments
HBX Environmental Review Act (State NEPA)
HBX Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
HBX Electric Vehicle Tax Credit
- – suggestion that Sierra Club monitor deep water drilling in Taos
Jose Gonzales sent apologies. He and Vanessa got more donations from Taos than they ever had before. They were packing and about to leave for the border.
Elizabeth Armijo from New Mexico Compassion and Choices.
SB 153 Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act
Terminally ill, mentally competent patients may take advantage of medical aid in dying by receiving a prescription from their physician. In 2017, the bill was narrowly defeated on the Senate floor. 7 Democratic senators voted no, including Cisneros. Bobby Gonzales didn’t have to vote in 2017 (in house). His position is unknown. Eight states have authorized similar bills. Studies show no known abuse of the law. Statistically, it seems to bring peace of mind just to have the prescription and the majority of those who receive the medication do not take it.. The only currently available legal alternative is to voluntarily stop eating/drinking which can take 2 or more weeks to be effective.
Jan 29th. lobby day. Contact Compassion and Choices
Q &A This legislation would not be applicable for those with dementia
Bob Bresnahan of Renewable Taos spoke about bills concerning renewables this session.
Climate change is the overarching issue. IPCC and National Climate assessment reports demonstrate we must act within the next 15 years to avoid the worst outcomes. Kit Carson is a model and is on the way to 100% renewables in Taos. Unfortunately for the last 8 years, there has been no significant environmental legislation in NM. We must tell our legislators ‘we’re back.
|Renewable Energy Requirements for Utilities (RPS)
|Sets Targets for Renewable Energy for Utilities – 50% by 2030
|Local Choice Electricity Act
|Allows Communities to Choose the Source of Electricity
|Request for Competitive Procurement and Independent Evaluator Process
|Requires Transparent Bidding on Energy Supplies for Utilities
|Oil Conservation Division Powers & Duties – Richard C. Martinez
|Enacts Stiff Fines and Criminal Penalties for Discharge of Contaminants.
|Low-Income Energy Conservation Program – Richard Martinez
|Low-income families in NM pay on average 32% of their income for energy costs. This would help.
|School Trust Revenue Bill
|Allows Land Commissioner to raise royalties on gas & oil extraction to rates charged in neighboring states. Removes a hidden subsidy.
|Amendments to the Efficient Use of Energy Act
|Provides for energy efficiency programs and de-coupling.
|Community Solar Act
|Promotes development of solar gardens that allow renters and home-owners with poor solar to purchase or lease arrays.
|Solar Market Development Tax Credit
|Restores a 10% State Income Tax Credit for purchase of home Solar and Wind.
|Environmental Review Act
|Uniform reporting and environmental review requirements for projects at all State agencies.
|Allowing Motor Vehicle Manufacturers to Act as Dealers in Some Circumstances
|Makes it possible for Tesla to sell and service cars in NM
Bob is against nuclear, but feels they shouldn’t close until energy is replaced by renewables. Main opposition is PNM — wants to keeps their coal plants until the 20’s and 30’s. This is an unacceptable policy.
For updates see: Renewable Taos
Jim Schultz on Minimum Wage proposals in the legislature.
Historical situation: The federal minimum of $7.25 has not be raised in 9 years
In 2017, NM lawmakers tried to increase the state minimum wage up to $9 or $9.25, but then Republican Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed;
Current Situation: The minimum wage in NM is $7.50. Las Cruces passed a law to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2019. Albuquerque has a minimum wage of $8.95 an hour. Santa Fe has a minimum wage of $11.50 an hour,
The minimum wage is $10.50 in Arizona and $10.20 in Colorado, Both states plan to raise the wage to $12
(Texas, Oklahoma and Utah have no state minimum wage.)
As of August this year Ten large cities and seven states have passed minimum wages to between $12 and $15.
Current politics: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was clear on the campaign trail about her support for $10 an hour, then increase it to $12 over four years. “We will lift thousands out of poverty and ensure that they have a living wage in the future”.
This move would boost pay for more than 100,000 New Mexicans. Also, the US House of Reps propose to increase the Minimum Wage to $15 by 2024.
Minimum wage increases are good for local economies and small businesses. Studies show that increasing the minimum wage actually improves both employment and economic activity, overall, with no detectable employment losses. Benefits include:
decreased employee turnover, employees are more productive, morale is heightened, absenteeism is decreased.
Moreover, minimum wage increases raise the purchasing power of low-wage workers who generally must spend all of their income on necessities. So when they receive pay raises, all of that money is plowed back into the local economy. Research shows that this impact is especially evident in rural economies, where consumer demand is often weaker.
Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, proposes raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour starting on Jan. 1, 2020. Jan. 1 2021 adj CPI
Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, has proposed a more modest increase. He wants $10 now, then to $11 an hour in July 2020 and to $12 an hour in July 2021. July 2021 wages linked to CPI
Pascual Maestas — Taos Town Council
Capital infrastructure proposals include new police vehicles, a UV light for swimming pool disinfection.
The council is also requesting that the NM legislature return money “borrowed” from the Public Employees Retirement Fund to avoid cutbacks.
The council wants to reinstate the previous method for Fire Dept funding–a lump sum so that FDs can more easily purchase big ticket items. Funding in small amounts makes this far more difficult.
Marjorie Luckey spoke on voting rights proposals.
In 2017 – many bills designed to expand voter rights died in committee or were vetoed. Democratic legislature and governor mean a new day.
Maggie Toulouse Oliver set up MVD registration, expanded early voting & shed light on dark money but any future SOS could easily reverse course. 2019 bills seek to codify her changes.
HB93 Permits “Decline to State” voters to choose Democratic or Republican primary for their participation.
HB84 SBAutomatic Voter Registration at MVD and other state agencies.
HB86 Election Day and Early Voting Registration (any questionable situation — voter can file provisional ballot).
SB52 Register to Vote Three Days Prior to Election
(BILL NOT YET SUBMITTED)
Allows 16 year olds to vote in school board elections.
Karen Munson on the National Popular Vote
Due to the Electoral College, two recent presidential elections have been decided by a minority of American voters. New Mexico should join 12 other states that have passed National Popular Vote bills, based on the principle of one person, one vote. This means that New Mexico’s 5 electoral votes will go to the national winner of the popular vote. When enough states have signed on to this agreement, i.e. enough states to provide 270 electoral votes to a candidate, then presidential elections will be determined by popular vote, without a Constitutional amendment.
League of Women Voters top priority:
HB55 National Popular Vote (Carlos Cisneros is sponsoring!)
Diane Shifrin spoke on TU/TU’s relationship to other activist groups and how the process will work during the session.
The legislative session will be packed and busy. What is the best way to follow and act on bills that are important to you? We like the software that Retake our Democracy has developed to mobilize for committee hearings and votes. You can sign up with their Rapid Response Network, to receive emails about their 20-25 (still being refined) “Must Pass” bills. This is an especially nimble system that will provide info before it shows up on the https://www.nmlegis.gov/ site.
Some bills that are very important to TU/TU members will not be on this list and for those, we have established a Legislative Action Committee. We can send out emails about these supplemental bills to folks willing to mobilize: call, visit, lobby etc.
Contact: Diane Shifrin firstname.lastname@example.org 951-435-9670
Megan White on Healing and Reconciliation Institute
Event January 25th 9AM-10:30 @ Unity on Blueberry Hill Jan 25th by
Maija West Healing and Reconciliation Institute. The institute is offering workshops 1 morning a month for 8 months about what it means to be a European-American in racial reconciliation efforts. The long-term (5 year) vision is to help heal our Taos community through exploration of topics such as inherited identity and exploration of historically harmed communities, etc. $15 suggested donation. email@example.com
Mark White on Milagrowolf
Mark is putting together Milagrowolf – a Meow Wolf style arts collective/benefit to raise awareness of water settlement threats to the acequia system through theatrical interpretation.
Please spread the word to artists you know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Christy Holden (Various Issues)
37 States have approved the ERA (first introduced in 1972). The Virginia Senate voted in favor of the ERA . One more vote — in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Constitution will be amended.
Taos County commissioner Candyce O’Donnell overlooked for leadership position
Petition was circulated.
Plans are underway to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s obtaining
the right to vote (2020) Suffrage Centennial
Bea Balsamo TIA Benefit
Thank you to all who support Jose’s border trips.
Taos Immigrant Allies benefit 6-9 PM Saturday January 19th
Taos Mesa Brewery $10 donation
Danielle Freeman Taos United Volunteers
Please volunteer to hang Taos United flyers. Once a month.
Fun and good exercise,.
Jim Ludden T.E.N.T.
Taos Elders and Neighbors Together, a virtual village of seniors helping seniors. Sign up to be a volunteer and/or a member.
You are invited to attend a free program entitled “Hidden Gems: Learn What Taos Public Library Has to Offer You” in the Meeting Room at Taos Public Library, 402 Camino de la Placita, Taos, on Friday, January 18th, 2019. Doors open at 2:30 p.m., and the program begins at 3:00 p.m. A social time with refreshments will follow the program. And there’s plenty of free parking!
Bud Branch Mom’s Demand Action
Feb 5th Lobby Day at the Roundhouse
Training session next Wednesday — for info text Events to 64433
Next monthly meeting: 1/23/19 5:30 PM at Kit Carson
NEXT TaosUnited/ /Taoseños Unidos Forum: Tuesday, Feb 19th 5:30 Kit Carson Boardroom. Please Like/Follow us on Facebook: