Political News

Democratic Bill Safeguarding Elections Passes NM House

From New Mexico House Democrats:

SANTA FE – In a huge victory for the voters of New Mexico, a Democratic bill ensuring safe and accessible election amidst the COVID-19 pandemic this November passes the House.

Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque), and Rep. Linda Trujillo (D-Albuquerque), establishes clear guidelines for the Secretary of State and county clerks to conduct safe and efficient elections despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill 4 provides county clerks the option to mail ballot applications to registered voters – a proven method to increase


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Video: Udall Calls On Committee To Oppose Nancy Beck Nomination Due To Anti-Consumer, Worker Safety Record

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), questions Dr. Nancy B. Beck, the Trump administration nominee to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission, during a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Screenshot/LADP

Scene of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), questioning Dr. Nancy B. Beck, nominee to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission, during a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Screenshot/LADP

U.S. SENATE News:  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, questioned Dr. Nancy B. Beck, the Trump administration


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New Mexico COVID-19 Cases Now At 10,430 With 2 More Deaths And 4,628 Patients Recovered

STATE News:

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials have announced this afternoon 172 additional positive tests for COVID-19.

Los Alamos County remains at 7 cases that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Today’s update includes 2 additional deaths reported in New Mexico related to COVID-19.

The New Mexico Department of Health reported today the most recent cases:

  • 15 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 1 new cases in Cibola County
  • 1 new cases in Colfax County
  • 7 new cases in Curry County
  • 10 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 2 new cases in Eddy County
  • 8 new cases in Lea County
  • 2 new cases in Luna County
  • 30 new

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2020 Special Session: Scaled Back Budget Heads To Senate

Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos

By JENS GOULD
And MICHAEL GERSTEIN
SFNM

“The times call for a responsive set of proposals that keep our communities and local businesses at the forefront of our economic recovery,” –Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, one of the bill’s sponsors. 

Over the objections of Republicans who wanted to cut more, House Democrats pushed through a scaled back state budget Friday at the 2020 Special Session, to shore up a $2 billion budget shortfall caused by the pandemic and oil price crash that devastated state coffers.

The House approved the roughly $7 billion 


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House Bill Establishing New Mexico Civil Rights Commission Passes In Bipartisan Vote Of 53-17 At Special Session Friday

Speaker of the House Brian Egolf

STATE News:

Creates A Legal Remedy For New Mexicans Whose Rights Have Been Violated

SANTA FE – House Bill 5, a bill making important strides in the fight for justice for all New Mexicans, passed the House Friday during the 2020 Special Session.

Sponsored by Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), House Bill 5 establishes a New Mexico Civil Rights Commission for the purpose of evaluating and making recommendations to the Governor and legislature on policies that would bring recompense and redress to New Mexicans who have had their civil rights violated. 


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Higher Education Cuts Could Jeopardize Research Funding, Hiring As Lawmakers Trim Budgets Across New Mexico

State Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup
By MICHAEL GERSTEIN
SFNM

Proposed cuts to higher education spending in New Mexico could jeopardize some research funding for state universities and lead to a hiring freeze at Santa Fe Community College, advocates say.

Universities and colleges in New Mexico are denouncing proposed cuts to higher education spending as lawmakers trim budgets across state government to fill a $2.4 billion budget hole wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and a devastated oil and gas market.

A draft House bill seeking to blend recommendations from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham


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During Special Session Senate Approves Key Change To New Mexico Primary Election Process

Sen. John Sapien

By JENS GOULD
SFNM

New Mexico senators approved a new measure today that would allow independent voters to cast ballots in primary elections by registering with a major party on Election Day, potentially opening up primaries to a wider swath of the population.

The surprise amendment was added to an elections reform bill that aims to streamline the voting-by-mail process if the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing during November’s general election.

The amendment, which was proposed by Sen. John Sapien and passed with bipartisan support, would allow voters not registered with


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Governor Remarks On Progress Of Special Session

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

STATE News:

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement this afternoon on the progress made so far at the special session:

“I am encouraged by the progress of the Legislature amid this most unusual special session. Lawmakers are making headway on the essential business of election accessibility, tax relief, assistance for small businesses and local governments that have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, civil rights and public safety reform – and of course ensuring the state’s finances are on steady footing through January and


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Chart 97: COVID-19 In New Mexico June 19

Change in the number of new diagnoses during a two week period by county. The percentages indicate change in number of diagnoses during June 5 – June 18 as compared with May 21 – June 4. Counties with less than 50 diagnoses are not shown. Statewide, the number of diagnoses decreased by 4 percent to 1,800 during the past two weeks from 1,881 during the preceding two week period. Created by Eli Ben-Naim


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New Mexico COVID-19 Cases Now At 10,260 With 8 More Deaths And 4,512 Patients Recovered

STATE News:

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials have announced this afternoon 112 additional positive tests for COVID-19.

Los Alamos County remains at 7 cases that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Today’s update includes 8 additional deaths reported in New Mexico related to COVID-19.

The New Mexico Department of Health reported today the most recent cases:

  • 15 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 3 new cases in Chaves County
  • 6 new cases in Cibola County
  • 4 new cases in Curry County
  • 10 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 3 new cases in Hidalgo County
  • 3 new cases in Lea County
  • 3 new cases in Luna County
  • 22

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Democratic-led Tax Relief Passes House Floor

Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos)

STATE News:

SANTA FE – Today, House Bill 6, which makes three important changes and updates to New Mexico tax rules, passed the House Floor.

HB 6 Sponsors:

…Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos);

…Rep. Abbas Akhil (D-Albuquerque);

…Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque); and

…Sen. Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe).

House Bill 6 will give direct tax relief and support to individuals and businesses economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“I am proud to sponsor this bill that supports economic development and is both family


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Today Is Juneteenth Marking Emancipation Of Last Remaining Enslaved African Americans In Confederacy

Illustrated print by Thomas Nast depicting life before and after emancipation. Keith Lance/Getty Images

Juneteenth News:

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.

The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox


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New Mexico House Democrats Introduce Budget Recovery Framework, Small Business Relief, Public Safety Reforms…

NMLEGIS News:

SANTA FE — At noon, Thursday, the Special Session of the 54th Legislature of the New Mexico House of Representatives gaveled in to address the pressing and urgent needs of the people of New Mexico in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Mexico Speaker of the House, Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), opened the session by addressing all members present, speaking to the unprecedented circumstances New Mexicans are facing and how the Legislature can work to best support the people of the state. 

“This truly is a historical and unprecedented moment in the history of this legislative


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Watered-Down Version Of Election Reform Bill Clears New Mexico Senate Panel

By JENS GOULD
SFNM

A Senate panel significantly watered down a bill late Thursday that aims to streamline the voting-by-mail process if the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing during November’s general election.

Senate Bill 4, which is backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, had proposed to allow county clerks to automatically send mail-in ballots to registered voters without requiring people to request them.

But after a three-hour debate, the Senate Rules Committee voted to strike that provision from the bill. Under the revised bill, people would still need to apply for absentee ballots


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New Mexico State Legislators Grapple With How Badly Budget Cuts Will Affect Classroom Learning

Sen. Mimi Stewart

By ROBERT NOTT
SFNM

As educators continue to wonder and worry about what school will look like for both them and their students this fall, state legislators began grappling with the reality of how badly budget cuts will affect classroom learning.

The outlook, some said, is not pretty.

The appropriations bill introduced in the House during the first day of a special legislative session proposes a number of cuts to help fill the state’s budgetary gap — including a $44 million-plus hit to the state’s public education funding formula and an across-the-board reduction


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NM House Starts With A Sputter At Special Session

The House of Representatives began with a sputter at today’s Special Session in Santa Fe. File photo

By MICHAEL GERSTEIN
SFNM

If the world ends with a whimper rather than a bang, the House began Thursday with a sputter.

For hours, Republicans in the state House debated new rules on whether lawmakers should be allowed to vote remotely — a debate that was delayed because of trouble with the webcast, in turn delaying committee hearings scheduled for that afternoon until after representatives’ 6 p.m. dinner.

Complying with state rules on open meetings, lawmakers paused the debate for close


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Senate Bill 3 To Provide Financial Help For Small Business Owners Moves To Floor For Debate

Sen. Sander Rue

LEGISLATIVE News:
SFNM

A bill designed to provide financial help for small business owners struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic cleared its first hurdle when the Senate Finance Committee voted 8-4 to move it to the Senate floor for debate.

Senate Bill 3 would invest up to $400 million in Severance Tax Permanent Fund money into a new fund that business owners could draw on for a three-year loan to help them weather financial storms brought on by the COVID-19 threat.

“Our backbone of economic development in this state are these small businesses, our moms and pops … this


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New Mexico Legislators Weigh Smaller Raises, Less Spending To Balance Budget

Sen. John Arthur Smith

By MICHAEL GERSTEIN
SFNM

State workers would see a drop in their pay raises for fiscal year 2021 and spending for most agencies would be cut significantly under the draft budget overhaul lawmakers began debating Wednesday.

Whittling a record $7.6 billion budget to $7.34 billion — and filling wide spending gaps with cash reserves, pandemic-related aid from the federal government and other measures — is no small task for the New Mexico Legislature as it convenes Thursday for a special session to address a steep decline in projected revenues.

Members of the state House and


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