Paul Gibson commented on 2020 Priority Bills 2020-02-10 12:41:11 -0700In response to Charmaine, sadly all that is being done is that the Governor is pressing to get the votes needed from Dems in the Senate, but to date, she has not been able to secure that level of support. The Governor has stated that should Roe v Wade be killed, she would call a special session to reconsider HB 51 and that would be solely devoted to decriminalizing abortion in NM.
Paul Gibson published Roundhouse Roundup & Preview of Next Week in Latest News 2019-02-11 19:01:48 -0700
Things have heated up considerably. On Friday we had four MUST PASS bills being heard in four different 8 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. hearings followed by two afternoon hearings with two more of our MUST PASS bills being heard. And then on Saturday, we had another two hearings for MP bills. While all that was going on, interminable GOP-generated debate and childish filibuster tactics extended floor votes on gun violence prevention, abortion, minimum wage and other important bills. Things are getting testy between GOP and Dem leadership. But the big news of the week is the introduction of four energy bills: SB 489 Energy Transition Act (AKA securitization), SB 492 a competing (and far better) securitization bill; SB 374 Local Choice Energy; and SB 459 Hydraulic Fracturing Permits and Reporting, a four year pause on the issuance of fracking permits statewide. Battle lines are being drawn.Read more
Paul Gibson published SB 279 / HB 295 Health Security Act in 2020 Legislative Preview 2019-02-05 12:53:34 -0700
Why Your Legislator Should Support The Health Security Act
Summary: The Health Security Act provides for a fiscal analysis to determine if the specific Plan described in this legislation is financially feasible and prudent. The Plan outlined in the Health Security Act would make certain that all New Mexicans have comprehensive, affordable health care coverage.
The Act proposes an innovative approach that enables New Mexico to self-insure, setting up its own health care plan.
Fiscal Analysis First: The Act requires that a fiscal analysis be performed to assess whether the Health Security Plan, as described in the Act, is economically feasible. The Legislative Finance Committee would oversee this analysis. Only if the analysis demonstrates viability could the process of fully developing and setting up the Plan begin. A full description of the actual Health Security Plan is contained in the legislation so that the experts conducting the fiscal analysis have the information necessary to complete an accurate analysis of the Plan.
What the Plan Is: The Plan described in the Health Security Act, and which would be costed out, would automatically cover all New Mexicans, with some exceptions. It allows freedom of choice of providers without networks, offers services equal to those in the state employees’ health plan, and is administered by a nongovernmental entity – a geographically representative public commission structured much like a cooperative.
Previous studies: There is already strong evidence that the Plan will reduce rising health care costs. Two New Mexico studies (Lewin 1994 and Mathematica 2007) concluded that such a plan would save hundreds of millions of dollars within five years of implementation.
What the Act Does:
- The Act provides for a fiscal analysis of the Health Security Plan, overseen by the Legislative Finance Committee.
- The fiscal analysis, which is due by October 1, 2020, will be presented to appropriate interim legislative committees.
- During the 2021 legislative session, legislators must decide whether to proceed with fully developing and setting up the Plan. Legislative and gubernatorial agreement to proceed must occur; otherwise the Act is automatically repealed.
- Should the 2021 legislature decide to proceed, all that would be required is the removal of the Act’s delayed repeal section and an appropriation to cover the initial setup costs.
Important points to keep in mind:
- The Plan preserves the existing, private health care delivery system.
- By creating a much simpler insurance system, the Plan reduces provider overhead costs.
- Employers and individuals who wish to purchase supplemental insurance may do so (as with traditional Medicare).
- The Plan is a New Mexico solution, with years of input from diverse New Mexicans across the state.
Why NM Legislators Should Vote for SB 183 / HB 23
Summary: Increases the Working Families Tax Credit from 10% to 20% of the federal earned income tax credit (EITC) for the same taxable year, to become effective as a tax deduction in taxable years starting January 1, 2019. If this bill passes, the maximum 2019 state tax credit would be $1,311 for a family with 3+ children.
History: The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is the state’s equivalent to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The WFTC eligibility levels and amounts are based directly on the EITC, which was first passed under Gerald Ford in 1975 and indexed to rise with inflation under Ronald Reagan in 1986. Since its passage, the EITC has been strongly supported by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers on a national and state level. Twenty-six states have modeled state credits after the EITC. New Mexico enacted the WFTC in 2007 at 8 % of the EITC and raised it to 10% in 2008.
Why This Bill Is Good for NM
- Our state is ranked worst in the nation for poverty among the employed and poverty among people working full-time year-round. We have the highest percentage (17%) of families who are working but still living below the poverty line and the highest percentage (42%) of working families who are low-income (below 200% of the poverty level).
- The proposed WFTC would put an estimated $130 million into the pockets of working families. In turn, they will spend it in the local economy on necessities like food, housing, and child care.
- The average maximum EITC-based credit for 26 states plus the District of Columbia is 20%.
- The credit benefits working families in every county, House district, and Senate district.
- EITC-based credits are supported by both Democrats and Republicans. Ronald Reagan said that the EITC was the best anti-poverty and best pro-family measure to come out of Congress.
New Mexico Voices for Children
Why NM Legislators Should Vote for HB 141
Committees: First: House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs; then House Judiciary
Summary: This bill directs that no state agency employee shall disclose sensitive personal information to anyone outside the state agency except when such disclosure is necessary to carry out a function of the state agency or to comply with a court order or subpoena. The bill defines “sensitive personal information” as genetic information; protected personal identifier information such as a Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number or address; a person’s status as a recipient of public assistance or as a crime victim; and a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, immigration status, national origin, or religion.
History: No known similar bills have been previously introduced.
Why This Bill Is Good for NM
- This bill protects the privacy of all New Mexicans.
- A number of local New Mexico jurisdictions have privacy and confidentiality policies that prohibit the disclosure of sensitive personal information to outside agencies. These policies should be extended to cover and protect the sensitive and personal information of all New Mexicans.
- For many state agencies to function properly, they need to obtain sensitive personal information from New Mexicans. When New Mexicans provide this information to state agencies, they have a reasonable expectation this information will remain confidential. By adopting a strong confidentiality policy, New Mexicans will not have to think twice before accessing health and public services, including collaborating with law enforcement as witnesses.
- The bill allows only four exceptions for disclosure of private information: when disclosure is necessary to carry out a function of the state agency; to comply with an order from a state or federal court; as permitted by the Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act; or as required by federal law.
- This bill includes immigration status and national origin in the list of sensitive personal information, which currently contradicts federal statute 8 USC §1373. However, multiple federal districts courts around the country have deemed this statute unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, New Mexico has the right to not share the sensitive personal information of its residents.
- Somos Un Pueblo Unido
- New Mexico ACLU
Paul Gibson published HB 57 Restore Felon Voter Rights in 2020 Legislative Preview 2019-01-21 08:40:22 -0700
Why NM Legislators Should Vote for HB 57
Summary: This bill would eliminate the disqualification from voting in NM for persons convicted of a felony. Original bill language restored felons’ right to vote, including while incarcerated. An amendment is expected to be introduced in the 3/4/19 House Judiciary Committee hearing in which voting rights would be restored upon release from incarceration.
History: New Mexico repealed lifetime felony disenfranchisement in 2001. Changes in 2005 codified data sharing procedures and provided for a certificate to restore voting rights for felons after completion of all terms of probation.
Why This Bill Is Good for NM
- Over 6.1 million Americans are currently prohibited from voting due to felony convictions, up from 1.1 million in 1976. In 2016 in New Mexico, over 24,000 people were disenfranchised due to a felony conviction, not including those who completed their sentences and were eligible to re-register, but were not aware they could or feared being charged with voting illegally.
- Felony disenfranchisement policies have a disproportionate impact on communities of color.
- Since 1997, 23 states have passed legislation reducing felon voting restrictions. Maine and Vermont allow people convicted of felonies to vote, even while imprisoned.
- Restoring the vote to persons leaving prison could aid their transition back into community life. The loss of voting rights compounds the isolation of formerly incarcerated individuals from their communities, and civic participation has been linked with lower recidivism rates. In one study, among individuals who had been arrested previously, 27 percent of non-voters were rearrested, compared with 12 percent of voters. This legislation could ultimately help reduce the state’s prison population and probation/parole caseloads.
- Almost half of European countries allow incarcerated individuals to vote, facilitating voting within the prison or by absentee ballot. In Canada, Israel, and South Africa, constitutional courts have ruled that any conviction-based restriction of voting rights is unconstitutional.
- This measure would simplify procedures for same-day and early-voting registration by removing the requirement to confirm that a person seeking to register is not a felon still on parole or probation.
- Common Cause
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Daily Kos
- Democracy Initiative
- Center for Popular Democracy
- Color of Change
- Fair Elections Center
- Franciscan Action Network
- Greenpeace USA
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- Let America Vote
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
- National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
- People for the American Way
- Prison Policy Initiative
- The Sentencing Project
- Transformative Justice Coalition
- Voter Rights Action
Paul Gibson published HB 51 Decriminalize Abortion in 2020 Legislative Preview 2019-01-18 11:27:52 -0700
Why NM Legislators Should Vote for HB 51
Summary: HB51 would repeal a 1969 NM statute that makes it a 4th-degree felony for physicians to perform an abortion except in cases of rape, incest or likely birth defects, or to protect the life of the mother. The Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade in 1973 made it unenforceable, but with the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Roe v Wade could be gutted. To protect New Mexico women’s right to choose, repealing this outdated legislation is a high priority.
History: Rep. Joanne Ferrary introduced the bill in 2017, but it never got out of committee. In 2018, Gov. Martinez refused to allow the bill to be introduced. Activists anticipate the usual opposition from pro-life advocates, but support for the bill is bolstered by a poll conducted in January 2017: of 1,700 New Mexican rural county residents polled, 77% said they trust women to make abortion decisions for themselves.
Why This Bill Is Good for NM
- Respects NM women’s right to choose to make this personal decision for themselves;
- Removes intrusive and unnecessary government interference in the lives of NM citizens;
- Prevents discrimination by people of some religions against people with different religious beliefs by forcing them to have unwanted children, a matter of religious freedom enshrined in the US Constitution;
- Reduces maternal mortality rate (more women die from childbirth than from abortion);
- Supported by 77% of New Mexicans polled.
Below are some of the concerns raised by pro-life advocates in testimony on Sat., Jan. 26 before the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee, and our responses to those concerns.
Claim: HB 51 will legalize all kinds of abortion procedures in NM.
Response: HB 51 doesn't introduce or authorize new abortion procedures, it simply protects those already in practice.
Claim: HB 51 is unnecessary as Roe v Wade protects a woman's right to an abortion.
Response: HB 51 is a critical bill because if the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision is overturned, New Mexico's 1969 abortion criminalization bill would be operative, and then only in the most limited instances could a woman access an abortion procedure.
Claim: Abortion is a risky procedure that endangers women's lives.
Response: A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that abortion is one of the safest surgical procedures for women in the United States. Fewer than 0.05% of women obtaining abortions experience a complication.
- Planned Parenthood
- Respect NM Women
Paul Gibson published HJR 1: Permanent Funds for Early Childhood in 2020 Legislative Preview 2019-01-03 14:12:48 -0700
Why NM Legislators Should Vote for HJR 1
Summary: This joint resolution would, if approved by voters in a statewide referendum, change the state constitution to require the Land Grant Permanent Fund (currently at $17.5 billion) to provide additional yearly distributions of 1% to educational and early childhood educational services such as high-quality home visits, childcare assistance, and pre-K, starting in fiscal year 2021. This 1% would increase the current distribution of 5% to a modest 6%.
History: IN 2017, HJR1 passed 37:32 in the House; the Senate Rules Committee voted 6:5 to table it. In 2018, it died in Senate Finance, having passed the House 36-33 and passed the Senate Education Committee.
Why This Bill Is Good for NM
- Large numbers of NM parents cannot provide the enrichment their young children need to succeed in kindergarten and elementary school due to poverty, language issues, time constraints, and poor parental education.
- Current research indicates that pre-K provides that enrichment and thus better outcomes for children when they move to kindergarten, elementary, and high school.
- Better educated children are more likely to graduate high school, pursue higher education, avoid drugs and criminal activity, and become productive citizens.
- Better educated students become better prepared employees and entrepreneurs, and thus advance our state’s economy.
- Currently only some districts provide pre-K; this bill would allow all districts to provide it.
- The additional money could fund high-quality home visiting, childcare assistance, as well as pre-K, supporting the early and most formative years of 0-3.
- New Mexico has the largest Land Grant Permanent Fund at $17.5 billion. It was intended to fund education. It is not a ‘rainy day’ fund or a retirement fund.
- The Albuquerque Journal reported that 81% of New Mexicans approve of using the Land Grant Permanent Fund to fund Pre-K education.
- The 1% increase is a modest portion of the overall Fund.
- It would create 4,000 jobs over 4 years, primarily filled by women in rural areas.
Catholic Archbishops of NM; Invest in Kids Now; NM Voices for Children; Annie E. Casey Foundation; Center for Law and Poverty; Southwest Organizing Project; Olé New Mexico; New Mexico Working Families; Center for Civic Policy; NM Asian Family Center; CHI St. Joseph’s; YDI New Mexico; Catholic Health Initiatives; Southwest Organizing Project; NM Conference of Catholic Bishops
Paul Gibson published HB 87: Domestic Violence & Firearm Possession in 2020 Legislative Preview 2019-01-03 13:50:20 -0700
Why NM Legislators Should Vote for HB 87-SB 328
Summary: Currently, only convicted felons are not allowed to receive, transport, or possess a firearm or destructive device. This bill extends that ban to include people subject to an order of protection, and people convicted of any of the following crimes: battery or aggravated battery against a household member, criminal property damage to a household member, stalking, and certain other crimes. While felons in possession of a weapon are guilty of a fourth-degree felony, others listed in the bill would be guilty only of a misdemeanor. Twenty-seven other states have similar laws. Gun owner and law enforcement rights are protected in this bill through clear and simple procedures, due process, and limitation of liability.
History: The bill passed the House and Senate in 2017 with strong bipartisan support. It was vetoed by Governor Martinez. The New Mexico Intimate Partner Violence Death Review Team (funded by the state and comprised of police, court, and health care officials) has been proposing this law every year since 2009.
Why This Bill Is Good for NM
- Domestic abusers with guns pose a deadly threat to their intimate partners. Domestic violence assaults with a gun are 12 times more likely to result in death than those involving other weapons or bodily force.
- Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.
- More than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims from 1980 to 2008 were killed with firearms.
- In 2011, nearly two-thirds of women killed with guns were killed by their intimate partners.
- States that collect guns from people under restraining orders have a 22 percent lower rate of intimate-partner homicide by gun than those that don’t.
- NM law enforcement agencies currently have no way to take guns away from domestic violence perpetrators.
- A study by Everytown for Gun Safety of every identifiable mass shooting from January 2009 to July 2014 found that 57% involved the killing of a family member or a current or former intimate partner of the shooter.
- Policies that protect victims of domestic violence enjoy tremendous public support. A 2013 national poll found that 80.8% of people surveyed, including 75.6% of gun owners, support prohibiting gun ownership for 10 years after a person has been convicted of violating a domestic violence restraining order, and nearly as many support prohibiting gun ownership for 10 years after a person is convicted of domestic violence.
- New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence
- Giffords Law Center
- New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Paul Gibson wants to volunteer 2019-07-12 06:42:34 -0600
In 2019, we had a Democratic Governor and a strongly Democratic Roundhouse. While much was accomplished, much was left undone, most painfully the legislature failed to protect a woman's right to choose, our immigrant neighbors, and our planet. We have much more left to do in 2020 and Retake Our Democracy has a plan to do it.
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