We are glad to say the 2023 sixty day Legislative Session ended Saturday at noon. Although some bad bills were passed, several bills were killed due in part to our Calls to Action, lobbying, and testimony during committee hearings.
A great example of legislation that NMBC helped stop is SB 11 Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFMLA). This bill which would have mandated 12 weeks of paid time off per year, (in addition to the previously mandated 8 days off for sickness,) by imposing a new tax on employers and employees. As a member of the PFMLA Task Force to advise legislators on this issue, NMBC’s testimony in committee hearings was especially impactful. Our facilitation of over 41,000 calls and emails to legislators also helped to stop SB 11.
The governor has already signed several of her priority bills and there are over 200 awaiting final action. Here are a few:
- HB 4 Voting Rights Protections. Allows convicted felons to vote immediately upon release (even if still on parole), mandates increased use of drop boxes, and creates a permanent absentee voter list. Fill out a Call to Action asking the Governor to veto this bill HERE.
- SB 180 Election Changes. Forces counties to use internet-connected ‘poll books’ at voting locations (without proof of security, opening the door for potential hacking), makes it easier for a minor to serve on an election board, etc. Fill out a Call to Action asking the Governor to veto this bill HERE.
- HB 7 Reproductive & Gender-Affirming Health Care. Protecting access to abortion and procedures which include genital and/or breast amputation, chemical castration and other surgeries for New Mexicans. Children are included in this law with prohibitions against parental notification. Court action allowed by the NM Attorney General or individuals seeking compensatory or punitive damages for violations. Signed into law.
- HB 106 Increase Public Employee Pension Max. Some government workers will now be able to collect 100% of the average of their highest three years pay when they retire. This comes at a time when NM public pension funds are already facing insolvency predictions due to benefits outpacing income.
- HB 134 Menstrual Products in School Bathrooms. Requires the use tax dollars to place feminine products, such as tampons, in both the girls and boys’ bathroom in schools.
- SB 187 Certain Drug Possession & Habitual Offender. Will prohibit felony convictions for non-drugs charges or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol from another jurisdiction being used to enhance criminal sentences as a habitual offender.
Note: Contrary to all the pre-election promises to focus on New Mexico’s crime problems and ‘catch and release’ court policies, nothing was done during the session to address bail reform or to increase penalties on violent offenders who use guns while trafficking fentanyl or other crimes.
The governor has 20 days to make a decision on this legislation, either veto or sign into law. If no action is taken, it’s called a ‘pocket-veto’ which means the legislation does not become law. NMBC will release a detailed analysis of the outcomes of the Legislative Session after April 7, when this period of time is over. In the mean time, we encourage you let your voice be heard to the governor using the Call to action forms linked above.