House passes bill to expand contraception access

The state House of Representatives approved a bill to preserve contraception coverage put in place as part of the federal Affordable Care Act and expand some access on a mostly party-line vote Monday evening. Three Republicans—state Reps. Sarah Maestas Barnes and Nate Gentry of Albuquerque and Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences—joined ranks with Democrats to approve the bill. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, would expand access to contraceptives by requiring health insurance plans to allow women to obtain up to 12 months of their birth control prescription at one time. The bill would expand the types of contraceptives available over the counter and include condoms and vasectomies in health insurance plans.

Documents: Search warrant on Demesia Padilla

Read the search warrant that led to Tax and Revenue Department Secretary Demesia Padilla’s Thursday resignation:
Demesia Padilla Search Warrant by New Mexico Political Report on Scribd

Martinez’s term as RGA chair ends

Gov. Susana will no longer chair the Republican Governors Association. Instead, the organization elected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, according to an announcement Wednesday. The RGA, which advocates to elect Republican governors across the nation, elected Martinez at its helm last year. Before then, she served for one year as vice chair. Martinez will continue to serve on the RGA’s executive committee.

Martinez on controversial Trump pick: ‘He gets to choose whoever he wants’

Gov. Susana Martinez continued warming up to President-elect Donald Trump by defending his controversial pick of Steve Bannon to national media outlets Tuesday. Trump’s pick of Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart, the far-right news website, as chief strategist at the White House drew rebuke from anti-discrimination groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. At the same time, the American Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan and former KKK leader David Duke praised Trump’s pick of Bannon. Bannon is under fire for his alleged anti-semitic comments as well as running Breitbart while the website published stories with headlines like, “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage,”  “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” and “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.” While Democrats, including those in New Mexico’s congressional delegation, are criticizing Trump for the pick, most congressional Republicans haven’t commented one way or another on Bannon.

Abortion rights supporters find hope in local election results

Despite the national results, proponents of abortion rights in New Mexico have some things to celebrate about coming out of the local elections. A political action committee for the local branch of Planned Parenthood spent more than $21,000 to target four state legislative races, according to state campaign finance reports. After Election Day, those seats came out 3-1 in their favor. “I think we had a total of 21,000 doors and phone calls across the state,” said Marshall Martinez, public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico. Martinez estimated that 40 percent those who helped Planned Parenthood in the New Mexico campaigns were volunteers.

A surreal, bizarre election night for state Dems, GOP

A night that ended with one of the most stunning upsets in modern presidential history began, in Albuquerque and likely in many other cities throughout the country, with Democrats feeling optimistic about the country on the cusp of electing its first female president. At the Hotel Andaluz in downtown Albuquerque, an enthusiastic crowd of state Democrats gathered to watch the election results and, they thought, to welcome Hillary Clinton to the White House. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who easily won reelection to represent the Albuquerque area, showed up wearing a white pantsuit. She also wore a button bearing Clinton’s face on her chest. She called her outfit “my white suffrage Hillary Clinton pantsuit.”