As Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “You may delay, but time will not,” and as we learned this legislative session, delaying critical votes has left New Mexico in a state of confusion and panic.
For three years, I have served on House Appropriations and am proud of the bipartisan work we have accomplished to deliver New Mexicans a balanced and fair budget and comprehensive capital improvement legislation.
In those three years, I have never once seen a move as destructive as the 11th hour coup by House Republicans on the capital improvement legislation. Without warning, Republicans decided to play politics with some of our most vulnerable populations and strip critical funding for our senior centers and schools throughout the state and divert that money to the Spaceport and one highway in southern New Mexico.
This move cost New Mexico millions in economic development and capital improvement projects, as well as much needed jobs.
While this session ended on a costly note for New Mexicans, there were some great bipartisan actions and bills to protect our environment and fund crucial programs like CYFD and our public schools.
I am proud to report that five important bills I helped carry are awaiting the Governor’s signature:
HB 155 – The Lobbyist Disclosure Act mandates that a searchable database be available to the public on the Secretary of State site for lobbyist and issue disclosures.
HB 339 – The liquor reciprocity bill will allow New Mexico’s small breweries and distilleries to sale local beer and wine at their tasting rooms. This legislation was uniquely important to House District 43 since we have three of these small businesses in the district.
HB 428 – The county salaries bill expands salary requirements to the position of County Clerk. Current statue sets a cap of $6,000 for the County Clerk position. HB 428 gives counties more flexibility in offering a full-time salary for the position.
HB 427 – The resident tuition for veteran family members legislation will not only bring our laws up-to-date with federal mandates but will also ensure that our Veterans and their families are guaranteed access to higher education.
SB 537 – The bill amends the Sunshine Portal Act to increase government transparency and requires additional information to be made available online regarding state contracts.
Despite not getting through the Senate, I am proud that my DWI prevention (HB86), procurement code (HB130), and Vernon Kerr’s dual credit for government literacy (HB345) legislation passed the House and will continue to work until these pieces of legislation reach the Governor’s desk in future sessions.
Over the next few months, I will be hosting a series of town halls throughout the district and going door-to-door to talk to you about this session and ways we can make New Mexico stronger for generations to come. As always, I can be reached by visiting www.StephanieGarciaRichard.com or by calling 505.500.4343.