State Democratic Leadership Reveals Legislative Priorities

Public safety, education and sustainability top the list

Democratic House leaders will set their sights on public safety, education and sustainability during the Legislative session, they said in a press conference at the Roundhouse Tuesday morning.

Top public safety strategies include a 14-day waiting period after someone purchases a firearm; a bill to raise the legal age to buy a gun from 18 to 21; and pay increases for police and corrections officers to recruit and retain law enforcement within the state.

“We are also delving down on efforts to prevent crime in the long run by addressing the root causes of crime with efforts to reduce poverty, improve access to behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment and to support evidence-based solutions,” said Speaker of the House Javier Martínez, D-Albuquerque, just before the session began. “As I said last year, and I’ll say it again, it is time to keep our foot on the pedal and push for innovative ideas and bold fusions…There is no silver bullet for solving crime.”

While leaders support a multitude of increased gun safety measures, they did not commit to supporting all of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s bills to fight crime without first going through the committee process. However, Martínez commended Lujan Grisham “for being bold and looking 20 years into the future.”

Leaders who will plan for spending based on the highest general fund revenue forecast in the state’s history—roughly $3.5 billion in new money—also advocated for increased investment in early education; career and technical education; apprenticeships; and loan forgiveness for health care workers and teachers, among other items. Majority Caucus Chair Ray Lara, D-Chamberino, said these approaches to the issue will also help support the state’s workforce economy and end “cycles of generational poverty and trauma.”

“I know the quality of education can make a tremendous impact on the lives of individuals and their communities…All New Mexicans deserve a quality education and the opportunities it provides,” he said. “These efforts will help us staff our frontlines today, solve tomorrow’s challenges and make sure that New Mexicans have good paying jobs to support their families for decades to come.”

In addition, Majority Whip Reena Szczepanski, D-Santa Fe, noted the party plans to work to attract clean energy companies to invest in the state while simultaneously centering “the needs of our workers and frontline communities” to ensure a “just” transition.

“We are working to diversify our economy, and we are leaning into our strengths like outdoor recreation, our creative economy and clean energy: bioscience, aerospace, high-scale manufacturing,” Szczepanski said. “We are committed to continuing on our path to a more sustainable future.”

Lujan Grisham also delivered her State of State address to the House on Tuesday afternoon.

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