Do you want our legislature to pass the Health Security Act, increase the minimum wage, get money out of politics, protect a women’s right to choose, and begin a just transition to renewables? Even if your primary interest is in the environment or in animal protection, no doubt you would love to see these other bills pass, too.
For the past two years, Retake Our Democracy has been planning for this moment, the moment we can finally play offense, to pass many good bills that have stalled or been vetoed in the past.
Retake Our Democracy has developed a legislative strategy designed to help you advocate for good bills in an informed way and from your home. Not everyone can get to the Roundhouse every day, but that doesn’t mean your voice doesn’t matter. Not everyone can sort through the estimated 3,000-6,000 bills that will be introduced in the 2019 legislative session. But that doesn’t mean you can’t endorse a few bills that you know reflect your values and priorities.
We began to develop our strategy immediately after the 2016 election. We had teams of individuals lobbying at the Roundhouse in both 2017 and 2018 and sent out action alerts asking people to show up or to write to their legislators. We assumed that with a Democratic majority in each chamber, good bills would pass, forcing the Governor to veto them. That didn’t happen.
Many, many bills seemed to simply disappear from sight without a committee vote that could be traced and without a floor vote. Frustrated, our team of 10 began making calls to 20+ experienced non-profit advocates like Sierra Club, Common Cause, Planned Parenthood, and NM Voices for Children. We learned a good deal about how bills passed or languished and how much of the action was in committees. We learned which legislators subtly undermined good legislation, and which bills our non-profit allies most wanted to see passed into law.
From our conversations with our allies, we knew that legislators cared far more about the views of their own constituents. And so, over the past year, we’ve been building a communication system, a set of MUST PASS bills, and relationships with our allies to ensure timely communication throughout the Roundhouse Session. We are constantly communicating with our advocate allies to hone our MUST PASS bill list as new bills emerge.
It is one thing to identified bills we would like passed, but how can we organize advocates across the state to lobby their legislators whenever one of those bills goes to a committee on which they sit? That is why we created the Statewide Roundhouse Rapid Response Network. Click here to find out how it will enable you to advocate for good bills from wherever you live in New Mexico.