KRWG

New Mexico Legislature

KRWG Public Media coverage of the New Mexico legislature.  Major partners include the Associated Press and the Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State legislators are bristling at vetoes by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that block legislative authority over new federal pandemic aid, and say they may seek a court ruling.

Democratic state Sen. George Muñoz of Gallup urged colleagues to seek an opinion from the state Supreme Court on Friday. A spokeswoman for the governor says the appropriation of federal funds falls to the executive branch of state government — though the governor welcomes collaboration with the Legislature.

Las Cruces Projects Included In New Mexico Capital Outlay

Apr 14, 2021

LAS CRUCES - The capital outlay bill signed last week by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham includes more than $28 million in funding for projects in Dona Ana County, as well as millions for other projects in southern New Mexico.

The bill funds more than $511 million in projects throughout the state, including roughly $64 million for water and wastewater improvements, $53 million for roads, $49 million for higher education, $48 million for public safety and $8 million for acequias, dams and ditches. There is also $12.5 million to support Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) projects and $10 million for health facilities and prisons.

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has vetoed a bill to overhaul oversight of police training and misconduct reviews. The governor said in a veto message Friday that the bill would have changed the composition of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board and eliminated two citizen members unaffiliated with law enforcement. She said the would have insulated the board from any civilian oversight and reduced accountability. The veto strikes down a bill that also included an increase in financial payouts to relatives of officers killed in the line of duty. The governor voiced no objection to that provision.

New Mexico Governor enacts state budget

Apr 9, 2021
Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday morning signed the New Mexico state budget for Fiscal Year 2022, a $7.4 billion package overwhelmingly approved by the state Legislature that sustains and enhances key state investments in public education, early childhood well-being, economic development and pandemic relief, behavioral health and infrastructure.  Here is a statement from the Governor's office:

The budget for the year beginning July 1, 2021, maintains 24 percent of recurring expenditures in reserves, or $1.7 billion, and 1.5 percent raises for public school and higher education personnel, as well as state employees and front-line health and social service workers.

New Mexico Earned Sick Leave Signed into Law

Apr 8, 2021

  Santa Fe, N.M. – All New Mexico workers will now have guaranteed access to earned sick leave, under new legislation signed into law today by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.  Here is a statement from the NM House Democrats:

  

House Bill 20: The Healthy Workplaces Act was sponsored by Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-Las Cruces), Senate President Pro Tempore Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Corrales), and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque).   

 

“No one should have to go to work sick and risk public health because they can’t afford to lose a day’s pay. Yet more than half of our state’s workforce, many of whom are in essential positions, have been denied the right to earned time off to care for themselves or a loved one when they fall ill,” said lead sponsor Rep. Chandler. “It’s been a hard-fought battle, but I’m so proud that New Mexico will now guarantee this fundamental right to everyone in our workforce.”  

New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham signs End-of-Life Options Act

Apr 8, 2021

SANTA FE – After years of advocacy, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed into law a humane measure that will provide terminally ill patients the ability to seek medical aid in dying.  Here is a statement from the Governor's office:

Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Armstrong and Sen. Liz Stefanics, with support from co-sponsors Rep. Day Hochman-Vigil, Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero and Sen. Bill O’Neill, House Bill 47 enables patients who are terminally ill with the capacity to make informed decisions at the end of their lives to obtain medication for self-administration to help them avoid significant pain and suffering at the end of their lives.

New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham ratifies Civil Rights Act

Apr 7, 2021
Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed into law the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, strengthening the protection of New Mexicans’ rights, privileges and immunities as provided for in the bill of rights of the state constitution.  Here is a statement from the Governor's office:

The measure allows a person to litigate any deprivation of those rights, privileges or immunities and prohibits the use of qualified immunity as a defense for depriving a person of those constitutional civil rights.

Per a Senate amendment, claims from incidents prior to July 1, 2021 – the effective date of the new law – may not be brought. A public body’s liability for damages under the state Civil Rights Act is capped at $2 million.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed over 100 bills this week, inking changes in taxation, healthcare, education and voting. One tax bill being signed Tuesday expands rebates and tax credits for working families by increasing benefits and broadening eligibility. A healthcare bill prevents hospitals from suing broke patients. A round of education bill signings will reduce paperwork for home school and community college students pursuing a four-year degree. And when it comes to elections, voters can expect major changes in 2022. Like other states, New Mexico will draw new lines for voting districts. Lujan Grisham is signing a bill that sends redistricting to a non-partisan commission.

New Mexico Governor enacts Family Income Index

Apr 5, 2021

SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday signed legislation establishing the Family Income Index, an innovative strategy to direct additional funding to schools with concentrated poverty, which is known to contribute to low academic performance.  Here is a statement from the Governor's office:

“The Family Income Index is rooted in our desire to give every New Mexico student, no matter their family’s income status, an equal opportunity to the resources essential for a quality education,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We know that when a school has many students in need, extra resources are needed for all. With this measure, we can meet that need with pinpoint accuracy.”

Rep. Brian Egolf

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The State Ethics Commission has dismissed two allegations in an ethics complaint against House Speaker Brian Egolf and instead will refer them to a legislative ethics committee. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the commission did not announce a decision on the complaint’s third allegation, that Egolf had failed to disclose a conflict of interest. The commission on Friday dismissed allegations that Egolf used his office’s powers to obtain personal benefit and failed to ethically discharge his duties as a legislator. The Santa Fe Democrat has denied the allegations. They center on his work as a lawyer and his push to enact civil rights legislation.

New Mexico Marijuana Legalization: A Years-Long Political Battle

Apr 1, 2021
Medlineplus.gov

This week’s vote to legalize adult-use marijuana in New Mexico comes after years of failures.

In the past, the math wasn’t there.  With some Democrats joining Republicans in opposing legalization, New Mexico watched while neighboring state Colorado raked in more than a billion dollars in revenue…and even heavily Republican states like Arizona approved legalization efforts too.

In Depth: New Mexico lawmakers pass marijuana legalization bills in special session

Apr 1, 2021
NIDA

Marijuana sales will be legal in New Mexico next year following passage of a bill Wednesday, March 31, on the second day of a special session called by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after a similar bill had failed to pass during the regular session.

The legislation, which takes effect in April 2022, will allow adults age 21 and older to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis flower, 16 grams of extract and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis at one time. They can possess more than that if stored at their private residence.

 SANTA FE –  Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday issued the following statement on the breakthrough in the New Mexico Legislature that will make New Mexico the next U.S. state to legalize adult-use cannabis and comprehensively address past low-level convictions:

“This is a significant victory for New Mexico. Workers will benefit from the opportunity to build careers in this new economy. Entrepreneurs will benefit from the opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises. The state and local governments will benefit from the additional revenue. Consumers will benefit from the standardization and regulation that comes with a bona fide industry. And those who have been harmed by this country’s failed war on drugs, disproportionately communities of color, will benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to past low-level convictions.

DEA

SANTA FE, N.M (AP) — New Mexico’s Legislature has approved the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in a bill that the governor plans to sign, extending the legal cannabis market across the American Southwest. The state House concurred with Senate amendments Wednesday to provide the Legislature’s final approval. A companion bill would automatically erase some past marijuana convictions and reconsider criminal sentences for about 100 prisoners. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special legislation this week to push for legalization of marijuana in efforts to spur employment and a stable new source of state income. She is expected to sign the package of bills.  The target date for sales to begin is still a year away: April, 2022.

  On March 30, the New Mexico Legislature convenes for a special session to focus on legalizing cannabis. A bill made it past the House in the regular session but stalled in the Senate. Reporter Natalie Fertig with Politico covers cannabis policy around the country and has been closely watching the process in New Mexico. She spoke with KUNM's Megan Kamerick her along with my co-host Andy Lyman from New Mexico Political Report for the podcast “Growing Forward: Cannabis and New Mexico.”

People who are incarcerated faced a lack of resources when it came to access to health care and PPE during the pandemic. A couple of bills before lawmakers in New Mexico during the last legislative session could have addressed those problems, but prison reform has been placed on the back-burner for another year. KUNM’s Taylor Velazquez spoke with Lalita Moskowitz from the ACLU of New Mexico about the dangerous conditions inside private prisons.

The New Mexico Legislature failed to pass a bill legalizing recreational cannabis before the 2021 session ended on March 20. Now Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has called a special session for March 30 to take up the issue. But advocates for traditional and rural communities say despite the equity provisions in the bill that died, there was not enough consideration of impacts on rural communities.

New Mexico PBS

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Security fencing and state police checkpoints no longer encircle New Mexico state capitol buildings.

The added security was put in place after the Jan. 6 riots in Washington D.C. and cost at least $700,000. State Police checkpoints began to disappear earlier this month as the state's annual legislative session came to a close. A security fence started coming down on Saturday.

Senator Gregory A. Baca - (R) - Minority Floor Leader

  SANTA FE – New Mexico Senate Republicans today criticized Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Democratic leaders in the Senate and House for engaging in closed-door negotiations regarding cannabis legislation and the upcoming Special Session. Senate Republican leaders are now calling on the Governor to delay the Special Session until some bipartisan consensus is reached.  Here is a statement from the Senate GOP:

 

“Since the Legislature adjourned on March 20, Senate Republican leaders have not been included in the conversations regarding the Special Session,” said Senate Republican Leader, Senator Greg Baca (District 29-Bernalillo and Valencia). “We are now less than 24 hours from returning to the Capitol, and to our knowledge, there is still no consensus and we have not yet seen any of the proposed bills. Whatever is happening is coming together behind closed doors and it lacks the transparency New Mexicans want and deserve.” 

On this final episode of the season, we take a look back at the 60-day legislative session with Journalist Walt Rubel who covers the New Mexico State Legislature for the Southern New Mexico Journalism Collaborative.

Marijuana bill to be split for special session

Mar 29, 2021
DEA

LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, said legislation to legalize recreational marijuana sales may be split into two bills when the Legislature convenes for a special session Tuesday, March 30.

One bill would create the framework for taxing and regulating the new industry, and a second would deal with the social justice issues in the legislation, including the expungement of prior convictions for marijuana sales or possession.

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are embarking on an unusual legislative session Tuesday that focuses on the legalization of recreational marijuana. Efforts at legalizing the sale of cannabis to adults 21 and older faltered during the regular annual session that ended March 20, amid divergent views about government oversight among supporters of legalization. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has called back legislators to the Statehouse to hammer out an agreement on thorny issues of tax rates on pot sales, precautions against child access and court procedures for reversing past cannabis convictions. Negotiations are well underway in private.

Local New Mexico Legislative Voting Records Show More Unity Than Division

Mar 27, 2021
KUNM

LAS CRUCES - There was a lot more agreement during this year’s legislative session than you may have thought, given all the attention paid to contentious bills like those seeking to provide paid sick leave to workers or lower the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on small loans.

Of the 159 bills and joint resolutions passed this session, 60 cleared both the House and Senate on unanimous votes. A bill to extend informed consent liability protection for Spaceport America, which was a contentious issue when first passed in 2010, was one of those that sailed through without a dissenting vote this time.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has until April 9 to sign bills passed this session. Anything not signed by that date will be pocket vetoed. She has already signed 14 bills into law, including legislation to remove an old abortion law, reform the state’s alcohol laws and provide assistance to business impacted by public health closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Mexico Special Session On Cannabis Legalization Starts Tuesday

Mar 26, 2021
DEA

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday announced she will call the New Mexico Legislature into a special session on Tuesday, March 30, to take up a pair of economic and job creation items that were left unfinished in the 60-day session: legalizing adult-use cannabis and expanding the Local Economic Development Act, or LEDA.  Here is a statement from the Governor’s office:

“I am grateful to those legislative leaders and members who have expressed enthusiasm about returning to the people’s work so soon after a challenging 60-day session,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “The unique circumstances of the session, with public health safeguards in place, in my view prevented the measures on my call from crossing the finish line. While I applaud the Legislature and staff for their incredible perseverance and productivity during the 60-day in the face of these challenges, we must and we will forge ahead and finish the job on these initiatives together for the good of the people and future of our great state.”

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s Legislature is asserting its budgetary authority over $1.6 billion in new federal aid that dwarfs year-to-year spending adjustments, setting an agenda for economic recovery that Gov. Lujan Grisham can challenge only with her veto pen.

Legislators want to replenish the state’s unemployment fund, bail out public museums and historic sites and endow the state’s lottery scholarship with $100 million. Some states are only beginning to sort out spending priorities for federal funds.

Legislative session ends without passage of marijuana bill; governor calls special session

Mar 20, 2021

 

 

  LAS CRUCES - The 60-day session of the New Mexico Legislature, which was conducted entirely on Zoom in a state capitol building closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic, ended Saturday without passage of legislation to legalize marijuana.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she would call a special session on the issue, most likely on March 31.

“I believe legalization will be one of the largest job-creation programs in state history, driving entrepreneurial opportunities statewide for decades to come,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers to get the job done right.” 

DEA

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers are closing out a 60-day legislative session that charts an economic exit from the pandemic. The emboldened progressive Legislature is pushing forward policing reforms, shoring up abortion rights, and allowing medical aid in dying. In the final hours, lawmakers are advancing proposals that would guarantee paid sick leave for private-sector workers and ramp up state tax breaks for working families. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has eagerly signed bills that provide new grants to small businesses and a $600 tax rebate to low-income workers. The Legislature isn't passing recreational marijuana laws, but may try again in a special session.  

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers have advanced sweeping educational funding reforms during the legislative session.

Some measures could change schools and early childhood education for decades to come, including a constitutional amendment that calls for increasing withdrawals from the $20 billion Land Grand Permanent fund. Others are short-term fixes aimed remote learning and the coronavirus, like pegging school bus budgets to pre-pandemic mileage.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in New Mexico confronted its last last major hurdle in Senate deliberations, as legislators pushed to send the bill to a supportive governor.

The state Senate scheduled a vote Friday on a House-approved bill that legalizes cannabis for anyone 21 and older, levies a new 12% tax on cannabis and emphasizes support for communities where the criminalization of pot led to aggressive policing.

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