Roundhouse Update

There were several important bills this week that can make a critical difference to New Mexico, its businesses and all of its people.

We would like to recognize those who have done the right thing – our “Heroes”:

Senator Phil Griego (D): Whether you are before his committee, Corporations and Transportation, or watching him serve as a committee member on Conservation, this is a no nonsense man who has read the legislation and is ready for a discussion.

Our “Zeros” are a sad collection of bad bills and lost opportunities.

House Voters and Elections failed to hear HJR 6 Increase Minimum Wage Annually, CA (Rep M. H. Garcia, D). This was particularly problematic as we had several activists waiting to speak against this really bad bill. While some House committees worked until almost noon before going to the floor, this committee adjourned at 10 am.

The continuing saga of House Labor and Human Resources Committee.

First, the good news. The committee actually voted unanimously to pass HB 329 Recovery of Certain Unemployment Benefits (Rep Cathryn Brown, R). This bill was the result of a year’s hard work by the New Mexico Business Coalition and others on the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council.

Other good news? The Chairman of the committee, Rep Miguel Garcia, was actually quite gracious to the sponsor of HB 351 Employee Preference Act (Rep Candy Ezzell (R) and those who supported the legislation – as the motion to Table (Kill) the legislation waited for a vote.

The Chair’s graciousness certainly didn’t change the outcome of the decision to once again deny New Mexico the opportunity to be a Right to Work state; an opportunity for employees to choose whether or not they belong to a union and pay union dues. It’s a sad situation when a mere seven percent of all New Mexican employees belong to a union but a committee controlled by unions will determine the fate of the state.

Legislation that passed out of this committee – HB 277 Prohibit Certain Employer-Required Meetings (Rep Christine Trujillo, D). This bill prohibits employers from discussing religion or politics with employees which includes any discussion of unions. This includes any comparative discussion of the company’s benefits as compared to those benefits that would be offered by the union. It is okay, however, for union officials to come in and try to organize the employees of the company. A little one sided, don’t you think? The bill passed with the opposite vote of Right-to-Work: five Democrats supporting the bill and four Republicans voting against it.

Join the New Mexico Business Coalition. Our work is more meaningful with you by our side.