Round and Round Go Our Bills at the Roundhouse!

Want to know what good-government bills are moving at the NM Legislative Session, then read on for a peek at what we're working on!

HB211 Independent Redistricting, sponsored by Reps. Rebecca Dow, Kelly K. Fajardo, Joy Garratt, Natalie Figueroa, and Georgene Louis

Has unanimously passed out of House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee. This bipartisan legislation would empower the public to have a meaningful voice in the redistricting process. Every 10 years the district boundaries are redrawn to account for population changes. This bill would create a public body to create maps and provide input to legislators. Independent redistricting would ensure that voters are choosing their representatives, rather than representatives handpicking their voters. Gerrymandering has its roots in racially motivated voter suppression and ending the practice is essential for a representative democracy. Please thank New Mexico First for convening the redistricting task force, the recommendations of which form the basis of this bill, and members of the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee.

Please encourage members of the House Judiciary Committee to vote for HB211 for a more reflective, fair, transparent redistricting process!

HB231 Requiring Tribal Agreement for Consolidating, Closing Native American Polling Locations, sponsored by Rep. Georgene Louis

Has unanimously passed out of its first committee, House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee. This important piece of legislation will ensure voters residing on sovereign land are not disenfranchised and are afforded every opportunity to cast a ballot like all New Mexicans. This bill will ensure that laws passed in SB 4 from the Special Session in June 2020 will be codified to ensure access to the ballot, such as guaranteeing there is at least one polling location on tribal lands, and that local governments must consult and consolidate tribal governments regarding election administration processes. It is waiting to be scheduled in House Judiciary Committee.

Please thank our partners at NAVA Education Fund, and the members of the House State Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee.

HB74 Felony Voting Rights Restoration Process, sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey

Has successfully passed two house committees and is awaiting a vote from the entire body of the house before heading to the Senate for committee hearings. HB74 is vital and ensures no New Mexico citizen is denied their constitutionally guaranteed right to cast a ballot. Upon passage, the bill will allow for a simple transaction between county clerk’s offices and the corrections department, eliminating the confusing paperwork needed for felons to register to vote. 

Please call and email your House member and ask them to support HB74 today!

HB79 Unaffiliated Voters in Primary Elections, sponsored by Reps. Miguel Garcia, Daymon Ely and Sens. Mark Moores and Katy M. Duhigg

HB79 was successfully passed out of its first committee; however, it was unable to receive a majority vote in House Judiciary. HB79 received a tie vote of 6-6, effectively tabling the bill indefinitely. Although the bill may be brought back and possibly passed out of House Judiciary, it is unlikely. If revived, the legislation will provide a path for registered voters who are unaffiliated or affiliated with a minor party to participate in future primary elections.  

SB160 Judicial Candidates in Voter Action Act, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth & Sen. Katy Duhigg

Was recently passed out of Senate Rules committee and is awaiting a hearing in Senate Finance. If passed, the bill would allow public funds, that are no longer being applied to PRC districts, to be applied to district judicial races. The passage would allow district judges to focus on their court docket, and not on fundraising for their campaigns. This would also help ensure that our state judiciary is free, fair, and impartial from conflicts of interest.  

The Senate will reconvene in their chamber on Wednesday, Feb 10th. Please call the members from the Senate Rules Committee who voted in favor of SB 160 to thank them!

Sponsors Sen. Duhigg & Sen. Wirth

Sen. O’Neil

Sen. Ortiz y Pino

Sen. Stewart

Sen. Ivey-Soto

Sen. Lopez

SB14 Automatic Voter Registration, sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez  

Although NM currently has a form of Automatic Voter Registration, this newly proposed piece of legislation would expand our existing law. The expansion will help improve election participation by registering a significantly higher percentage of eligible voters. SB14 is currently awaiting its first senate hearing in the Senate Rules committee. Be on the lookout for our call to action!  

SB266 Stagger Certain Judicial Terms, sponsored by Sens. Daniel Ivey-Soto and Katy Duhigg

Is a piece of legislation that surrounds a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2020 permitting the staggering of judicial offices. SB266 allows these judges to be placed on the ballot for retention every two years, allows for a better evaluation system of judges, and a shorter ballot for voters.  

The bill unanimously passed the Senate Rules Committee with a bipartisan 9-0 vote and is on its way to the Senate Judiciary

SB100 Allows Political Party to Nominate any Qualified Candidate, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino

Otherwise known as fusion voting, it was met with opposition in its first committee, Unfortunately, this important and progressive policy was not passed through the Senate Rules committee. SB100 would have allowed candidates to run for office as the nominee of more than one political party. By permitting a candidate to associate with multiple parties, fusion voting allows voters to better identify with a candidate who supports their values. We are disheartened that this democracy reform did not receive the support it deserved. 

Please call and write Senator Ortiz y Pino and our partners at Working Families Party NM and thank them for championing inclusive democracy reforms for all New Mexicans!

HB4, New Mexico Civil Rights Act, sponsored by Rep. Georgene Louis and Speaker Brian Egolf

Also known as the “End Qualified Immunity” bill would create a legal remedy for New Mexicans to bring claims for damages in state court against public officials who violate their rights. The bill specifically prohibits the use of “qualified immunity,” a federal legal doctrine that makes it nearly impossible for individuals to sue public officials by requiring proof that they violated “clearly established law. Right now, our legal system makes it almost impossible to hold police officers accountable when they violate the rights of New Mexicans. New Mexico laws are currently too narrow to allow individuals to successfully sue police and other public officials for state constitutional violations. HB 4 passed through it’s second committe, House Judiciary, 8-4 and is headed to the House floor. Be on the lookout for our call to action!

SB311, Lobbying & Ad Campaign Reform, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn

Defines “advertising campaign,” as any notice that appears in public media, including radio, TV, newspapers, internet websites, or any marketing materials intended to influence legislative or official action. This would also require registered lobbyists to disclose all of their compensation and expenses received while lobbying on behalf of legislation. It is currently waiting to be heard in Senate Rules Committee.

SB314, Post-Session Lobbyist Reporting Reports, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn

This bill would requires each lobbyist employer & registered lobbyist to file reports disclosing activity on legislation including following the adjournment of the session, including, specific legislation lobbied, support/opposition/or other position taken on legislation, and name of lobbyist or lobbyist employer that lobbied on legislation. It would also extend to any lobbying done on legislation prior to being introduced and in the development stages. Along with SB 311, it is waiting to be scheduled in Senate Rules Committee.

SB80, No School Discrimination for Hair, sponsored by Sen. Harold Pope

Otherwise known as the CROWN Act, created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition, this policy would ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles. This is a basic and fundamental civil rights issue. There is no denying that the generations of systemic racism and attempts to erase and eradicate culture in black and brown communities, is still deeply embedded in our laws and in societal constructs. People should not have to choose between their racial cultural identity in order to exist comfortably in the workplace. Common Cause NM is following this policy in an effort to stand up against racial injustice, and to support our allies within the community on intersectional policies. It is currently waiting to be scheduled in Senate Judiciary committee. To learn more about the CROWN act, check out their site!

SJR 4, State Ethics Commission to Set Elected Officials Salaries, sponsored by Sens. Daniel Ivey-Soto, Katy Duhigg & Bobby Gonzales

This legislation is a constitutional amendment that would de-politicize the issue of legislative pay, and mitigate conflicts of interest in the Legislature, by expanding the scope of the State Ethics Commission to determine elected officials’ salaries. It would give the State Ethics Commission the authority to review and establish salaries every two years for elected state officers starting on January 1, 2024. If passed, voters will decide if they believe New Mexico should have a paid legislature and if they believe the State Ethics Commission should be responsible for setting statewide elected salaries. It passed out of Senate Rules 8-3 on January 29th, and is waiting to be scheduled in Senate Judiciary.New Mexico is the only state in the country that does not pay its legislators a salary. This structure has led to a disparity of representation in the legislature, and inherent conflicts of interest.

HB55, Capital Outlay Transparency, sponsored by Rep. Matthew McQueen & Sen. Bill Tallman

This bill would require publication of capital outlay projects that passed the Legislature, listing the names of legislators or the Governor who allocated a portion of the funding and the amount of the funds designated by each legislator and the Governor. Capital Outlay transparency is not only necessary for the legislature, but a good government reform that would help ensure the public has access to information regarding the use of public funds for public projects. It is scheduled on the House floor. Call your Representatives and stay tuned on its next steps!

We greatly appreciate our dedicated, engaged members! Together, we are creating a better democracy for all New Mexicans!