It’s a weird time. We’ve got a global pandemic, an uprising against racist police violence and a special legislative session dropped in the middle of it—the likes of which no one’s ever seen before. Maybe one that people still aren’t seeing because there have been so many access issues. In episode 79, we dig in to bring you what’s new and developing with the emergency legislative session. What bills have been passed, what is on the way and what is being held until January are just a few of the topics we cover. We talk with journalists from New Mexico PBS and the NM Political Report. We also hear from an advocate who is on the forefront of voting rights in tribal lands.
Amber Carrillo from Common Cause New Mexico reminds us why temporary changes to voting procedures are important for Indigenous communities during the pandemic, and the challenging decision by tribal administration to limit or cut polling locations during the primary.
Matt Reichbach, editor of NM Political Report, talks about how COVID-19 and social distasting has changed the special legislative session, and the narrow focus of lawmakers for this session, including the controversy around absentee ballots and the primary voting process.
Gene Grant and Kevin McDonald from New Mexico In Focus tell us about what they are following closely in the emergency legislative session, like the debate over using police body cameras in New Mexico, the complications of absentee ballots and the frustration for teachers whose raises are on the chopping block.
And a news update:
The Albuquerque Journal reports Steven Baca, who shot and critically injured a protester in Old Town Albuquerque last week, was ordered released Monday by a Bernalillo County District Court judge. While the judge said Baca does pose a danger to the community, certain conditions could mitigate the risk, including being prohibited from possessing a firearm or attending protests while charges are pending.
Senate Bill 8, which requires police statewide to wear body cameras, passed the House 44-26 Monday afternoon and now heads to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for signature, though other police reform measures died. The AP reports the state Legislature sent a revised spending plan to the governor's desk for signature on Saturday. The $7 billion budget for the fiscal year starting next week cut about $600 million from the plan approved earlier this year.
House lawmakers did not take up a proposal to express opposition, as a body, to the governor's motion in March to dismiss the Yazzie-Martinez case. The landmark education ruling in July 2018 found the state's education system had failed Native American students, English learners and others. The House memorial would have called for the state to develop long-term comprehensive plans to address the systemic racism and resource inequities in schools.
This year's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been canceled due to the pandemic. The Albuquerque Journal reports the event has been pushed out to next year.
The New Mexico Department of Health announced that the state saw no new deaths related to COVID-19, a first since mid-April. Officials reported 128 new cases today, bringing the statewide total to 10,694.
Find a full list of the resources we talk about on each episode + opportunities to donate or help online at: bit.ly/YNMGhub
Watch New Mexico in focus on New Mexico PBS. Check out past episodes and other content by heading to newmexicopbs.org
Plus, New Mexico PBS has been live-streaming so you can see the legislative session for yourself. Scope the New Mexico In Focus page on Facebook.
Check out the Common Cause New Mexico chapter head to: www.commoncause.org/new-mexico
Read great articles from Matt Reichbach and other journalists by heading to nmpoliticalreport.com
If you need a refresher on the Legislature, find any of the pre-COVID episodes of Your NM Gov to hear our daily updates during the January session.
We want to hear your story. What's shaping you during this time of change? Share your thoughts by calling: (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We may include them in a future episode.