Halfway Through the 2023 Session!
We’ve made it to the second half of the 2023 NM Legislative session, and we’ve made big progress on our priority bills! Many good-government bills are coming up on the House or Senate Floor or are crossing over to the other chamber for consideration.
Here’s where our pro-democracy reforms stand right now:
MODERNIZING THE LEGISLATURE
HJR 2 Legislative Session Changes, CA, and HJR 8 Legislative Salaries, CA
Both House Joint Resolution 2 and 8 have passed House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee and House Judiciary Committee. They await a vote on the House Floor.
HJR 2 would extend sessions to 60 days every year. Currently, New Mexico has the third shortest sessions in the nation, with 60-day sessions in odd-numbered years and 30-day budget sessions in even-numbered years. More time would allow for better solutions for our state.
HJR 8 would create an independent salary commission to set salaries for legislators. Currently, New Mexico has the only unpaid legislators in the nation. By paying legislators a fair salary, we will attract and retain a more diverse and reflective body of lawmakers who better represent our communities.
THE NM VOTING RIGHTS ACT
HB 4 Voting Rights Protections
The NM Voting Rights Act will remove unnecessary barriers to the ballot box and make voting more accessible to communities that have been historically disenfranchised. This legislation includes the Native American Voting Rights Act, which provides better access to the ballot for people living in rural communities and respects the sovereignty of tribal nations. It also streamlines the process to restore the voting rights of people who are leaving incarceration.
Please call your Representatives today and urge them to vote yes on HJR 2, HJR 8, and HB 4!
SB 42 Campaign Finance Reporting Changes
SB 42 would close some dark-money loopholes and require disclosure of independent expenditures in a more timely manner leading up to an election. It would also guard against potential problems that may arise when candidates lend their own campaigns money. SB 42 is currently awaiting a hearing on the Senate Floor.
HB 325 School Board Governance Changes
This bill would require school board candidates in districts of all sizes to report their campaign contributions. With more and more money pouring into school board races, voters need to know which out-of-state special interests are attempting to influence our educational system. HB 325 would also require all districts to webcast and archive school board meetings. It is currently awaiting a hearing in House Education Committee.
SB 180 would codify many of the procedures implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, which have improved the security and administration of elections. A few of the highlights include establishing Voter Convenience Centers in all counties, tightening mail ballot voting deadlines to ensure timely USPS delivery, and providing more accurate voter rolls and mandatory training for poll watchers and challengers. SB 180 has passed Senate Rules Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee and will next be heard on the Senate Floor.
ELECTION SAFETY AND SECURITY
SB 43 Intimidation of Election Officials
This crucial bill extends the protection already guaranteed to voters to include poll workers and elections administrators. It received unanimous support in the Senate and now moves over to the House. Poll workers are the heroes of our elections and deserve better protection.
SB 44 Prohibit Firearms at Polling Places
Guns and high-stakes elections just don’t mix. Firearms are already prohibited in schools and government buildings that frequently serve as polling locations. This commonsense bill would help prevent political violence and safeguard voters and poll workers. SB 44 has passed the Senate and awaits committee hearings in the House.
Both SB 43 and 44 will be heard next by House Government Elections and Indian Affairs Committee.
SB 73 Primary Election Voting Requirements
SB 73 allows all minor party and unaffiliated voters to choose a ballot without having to change their voter registration in order to vote in primary elections. SB 73 passed the Senate Floor with 27-10 votes!
SB 73 has been scheduled for House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee and then House Judiciary Committee. An identical bill was previously tabled in the House Judiciary, and we need your help to flip some votes!
Thank you for continuing to stay plugged in and active in our state democracy. Your advocacy makes a difference!