Sine Die and Major Wins for Democracy!

In the final hours of the NM Legislative Session, several CCNM priority bills were passed, including SB 160 Judicial Public Financing, SB 304 Independent Redistricting, HB 231 Native American Polling Places, and HB 55 Capital Outlay Transparency! That, coupled with many wins earlier in the NMLEG, are detailed in our final Democracy Wire of the session!

Common Cause Top Priorities: What Made it Over the Finish Line

Please call Governor Lujan Grisham’s office and tell her to sign our priority legislation into law.

Important dates:

    • Legislation not acted upon by governor is pocket vetoed: April 9th
    • Effective date of legislation not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date: June 18th

SB 160, Judicial Candidates in Voter Action Act, sponsored by Sens. Peter Wirth & Katy Duhigg 

Passed the House floor around 11:00pm on March 19th, with a vote of 52-11. This is a HUGE win for the New Mexico judiciary, and makes New Mexico the first state in the NATION to extend public financing to district court judges. The passage will allow district judges to focus on their court docket, and not on fundraising for their campaigns. We will be launching a FULL education campaign to support public financing in the judiciary. Please be on the lookout for a series of tele-townhalls for our new education and grassroots campaign to promote public financing for public courts!

Thank you to our partners at OLE, League of Women Voters NM, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the litany of judges who stepped up to make their voices heard! 

To show our support, please thank Senator Katy Duhigg, Senator Peter Wirth, Representative Gail Chasey, and the members of the House who voted to expand public financing! If you can take a minute, please also send a quick thank you to the members of our judiciary for their voices:

Supreme Court Justice, Barbara Vigil:

Judge Daniel Ramczyk, Second Judicial District: 505-841-7484

Former Supreme Court Justice, Ed Chavez:

Judge Bryan Biedscheid, First Judicial District:

Chief Judge Angie K. Schneider, Twelfth Judicial District: (575) 439-1333

Administrative Office of the Courts, Artie Pepin:

SB 304, Voting District Geographic Data, including Independent Redistricting, sponsored by Sen. Brenda McKenna

We Finally did it!! After more than ten (10) years of fighting for an independent redistricting commission and transparency in New Mexico’s redistricting process, SB 304 is on its way to the governor. SB 304 is a piece of legislation that was created as a result of various organizations, community members, and bipartisan legislative discussion through the Redistricting Taskforce. This important piece of legislation will ensure New Mexicans and its communities of interest will have a seat at the redistricting table. Upon its signing, SB 304 will require an independent redistricting committee, made up of 7 members, present the legislature with redistricting maps created using information gathered from New Mexicans through a series of public meetings. Thank you to all who reached out to legislators encouraging they support this bipartisan landmark piece of legislation. 

HB 231, Requiring Tribal Agreement for Consolidating, Closing Native American Polling Locations, sponsored by Reps. Georgene Louis, D. Wonda Johnson, Derrick J. Lente, Anthony Allison & Sen. Benny Shendo, Jr. 

Passed the Senate, with a vote of 40-1. This legislation would provide voters residing on sovereign land a polling location during statewide elections. HB 231 ensures voters residing on sovereign land are not disenfranchised and are afforded every opportunity to cast a ballot like all New Mexicans. A HUGE thank you to our partners at Native American Voter Alliance for leading the way on this important legislation. 

SB 266, Staggering of Judicial Races, sponsored by Sens. Linda Lopez & Katy Duhigg

This piece of legislation pertains to a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2020, permitting the staggering of judicial offices. SB 266 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. Please thank the bill sponsors for passing this legislation!

Common Cause Top Priorities: What Failed (And where our work continues)

SB 114, Post-Conviction Rights Restoration Act, sponsored by Sen. Bill O’Neill 

Despite hard work and collaboration with many of our allies, we were unable to successfully pass post-conviction voting legislation. Unfortunately, this important piece of legislation failed concurrence in the Senate due to time running out. We will continue to support and champion legislation like SB 114 to ensure all New Mexicans’ voting rights are protected. Thank you to our partners at OLE, America Votes, Center for Civic Policy!

SB 387, Segregated Bank Account, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth

Unfortunately did not get passed out of the House in time. This bill would have required a contribution to be deposited in a segregated bank account to be exempt from the independent expenditure reporting requirements. This critical amendment to our campaign finance statutes would have ensured increased campaign and election spending disclosure to the public to be able to see who is funding elections in our state. Please thank Senator Wirth for continuing to champion disclosure and campaign finance reform in NM!

SJR 22, Ranked Choice Voting, sponsored by Sen. Bill Tallman 

SJR 22, a constitutional amendment to go before voters that will allow for municipalities and the state to implement the election processes with other systems, including ranked choice voting. SJR 22 was tabled in Senate Rules on March 8th, but we will continue lobbying in the interim to help support introducing this bill again in the next legislative session. Please thank Senator Tallman, a Common Cause member, for bringing this forward this session!

SB 14, Automatic Voter Registration, sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez

Unfortunately, this bill was never scheduled. Although NM currently has a form of Automatic Voter Registration, this legislation would expand our existing law. The expansion will help improve election participation by registering a significantly higher percentage of eligible voters. We are thankful that New Mexico has AVR! Thank you to our partners at OLE & America Votes for championing this policy! 

In addition to our priority legislation listed above, here’s a glimpse of other policies we tracked this session:

HB 244, Ethics Commission & Secretary of State Duties, sponsored by Rep. Daymon Ely & Rep. Greg Nibert, headed to the governor’s desk!

SB 227, Inspection of Police Misconduct Investigation, sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez, died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 100, Allows Political Party to Nominate any Qualified Candidate, sponsored by Sen. Ortiz y Pino, died in Senate Rules Committee 

HB 4, New Mexico Civil Rights Act, sponsored by Rep. Georgene Louis and Speaker Brian Egolf, headed to the Governor’s desk!

SB 311: Lobbying & Ad Campaign Reform, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn, died in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 314: Post-Session Lobbyist Reporting Reports, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn, died in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 80, No School Discrimination for Hair, sponsored by Sen. Harold Pope, headed to the Governor’s desk!

SJR 4, State Ethics Commission to Set Elected Officials Salaries, sponsored by Sens. Ivey-Soto, Katy Duhigg & Bobby Gonzales, died in Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 55, Capital Outlay Transparency, sponsored by Rep. Matthew McQueen & Sen. Bill Tallman, headed to the Governor’s desk!

Please call Governor Lujan Grisham’s office and tell her to sign our priority legislation into law.

Thank you to all of our amazing partners, hardworking legislators, and dedicated members for your tireless efforts this historic session!