November 25, 2020

Lujan Grisham signs COVID-19 relief package into law

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the $330 million COVID-19 relief package into law on Wednesday, less than a day after the Legislature passed the package in a one-day special session.

The bill includes funds to provide more aid for small businesses, the unemployed and more money for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and preparations for the rollout of vaccines.

While acknowledging that this will mean a lot for those who have been impacted by COVID-19, Lujan Grisham said “our work isn’t done.”

Related: Legislature passes COVID relief bill during quick special session

“The pandemic has never been more dangerous in our state, and the economic pain caused by the spread of the virus is felt in every corner of New Mexico,” Lujan Grisham said. “We must remain vigilant in our fight against the virus. We must continue to evaluate how we can get more assistance to more New Mexicans who need it in this time of crisis.”

The two largest line items are $100 million in grants for small businesses, which will be handled by the New Mexico Finance Authority and a one-time $1,200 unemployment benefit for New Mexicans who have claimed unemployment. 

It also includes $15 million for housing assistance, $10 million for contact tracing, testing and vaccine distribution efforts, $5 million for food banks in the state and $5 million in direct assistance to those who did not receive a stimulus payment from the federal government earlier this year.

The bill passed the House and Senate with wide, bipartisan measures. Some sought to reduce the payment for the unemployed and provide a $600 payment for essential workers, though it failed in both chambers.

Lujan Grisham thanked the Legislature for their work on Tuesday.

“I’m grateful to the Legislature, both chambers and both parties, for their work yesterday. New Mexico will always step up, even when the federal government won’t,” she said.