New Mexico continues to rank at the bottom on child well being indexes, but the 2023 Legislature passed some bills that advocates say can make an impact on that low ranking. A child tax credit was included in the final omnibus tax package and it will help improve racial and gender equity, Amber Wallin, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, told NM Political Report. HB 547, the omnibus tax bill, underwent multiple conference committees but the New Mexico Child Tax Credit survived the negotiations. It will, among other things, provide up to $600 per child annually as a child tax credit for families earning $25,000 or less a year. For households earning $25,000 to $50,000, the annual child tax credit will be $400 per child and for households earning $50,000 to $75,000, the annual child tax credit will be $200 per child if Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs the bill into law.
The 2023 Legislature was a landmark session for LGBTQ bills, according to advocates. Marshall Martinez, executive director of Equality New Mexico, said three bills passed in the 2023 Legislature that make this past session a watershed moment for the LGBTQ community: A bill to add discrimination protections to LGBTQ residents, a bill to protect those practicing and seeking gender-affirming care and a bill to end the requirement to publicize a name change in the newspaper. Martinez said the two bills that are especially unique are the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare Act and the Expansion of New Mexico Act. The Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare Act, sponsored by state Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe, prohibits public bodies from discriminating against individuals seeking reproductive or gender-affirming healthcare. Hobbs and Clovis and Roosevelt and Lincoln counties have passed ordinances that both make it harder for reproductive health clinics that provide abortions to apply for a business license and prohibit medication abortion prescriptions through the mail despite federal approval.
With just days left before the end of the 2023 Legislative Session, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill to protect reproductive health care providers and patients in New Mexico.
The committee passed the bill on y a 6 to 2, party line vote. SB 13, sponsored by state Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, appeared to stall earlier in the session but now heads the House floor. The bill must be heard and pass the House before 12 p.m. Saturday to reach Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk this year. The bill would, if enacted, protect both providers providing reproductive healthcare and patients seeking it in New Mexico. The bill would codify Lujan Grisham’s executive order last year so that the protections currently in place will remain so regardless of who is governor.
An effort to strike the $10 million pledged by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for a full-spectrum reproductive healthcare clinic in Doña Ana County failed on Saturday. State Rep. John Block, R-Alamogordo, introduced an amendment to the capital outlay bill to strike the pledge to help enable a reproductive healthcare clinic, which would include abortion, in Doña Ana County. Several Republicans said they couldn’t support the capital outlay bill due to the governor’s pledge. Bill sponsor Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, said it was an unfriendly amendment. He also said the pledge of $10 million amounted to .8 percent of the $1.2 billion project list.
The first of two reproductive healthcare bills heard by the Legislature this session is headed to the Governor’s desk after a House vote. She is expected to sign the bill.
HB 7, Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare, sponsored by state Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe, passed the House previously but due to amendments added in the state Senate, it came back to the House for a concurrence vote on those amendments. Republicans asked a few questions during the House debate Friday night about who could be sued and why but it had little debate and passed by a vote of 39-29. The bill would bar any public body from discrimination against reproductive or gender-affirming care. This includes local governments who have already, or plan to, write ordinances to restrict abortion or gender-affirming care.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would protect providers and patients from out-of-state entities seeking information to harass or penalize for abortion by a vote of 7-to-1 Monday night. SB 13, Reproductive Healthcare Provider Protections, is sponsored by state Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque. The bill would provide protections to abortion care providers and to patients from entities outside of the state trying to subpoena information or harass providers or patients involved in abortion care in New Mexico. The bill cosponsor, state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, brought a committee substitute for the bill which removed redundancies and brought clarifications around intentionality in the bill. The bill seeks to codify Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order put in place last year that currently protects abortion providers and patients seeking abortion from interference from out-of-state entities, a concern that increased after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and states across the country began passing anti-abortion laws.
“This puts into law the policy we have that every person who receives reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming care can do so safely and free from harassment and that other states do not interfere,” Sedillo Lopez said.
The state Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill to protection abortion and gender-affirming health care rights by a 6-to-3 party line vote after a tense tie-breaking vote to amend the bill on Saturday. HB 7 is sponsored by state Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe. She said the bill “ensures we’re not adding fear so that people don’t seek life-saving healthcare.”
“It prohibits public bodies from discriminating against individuals seeking reproductive or gender-affirming healthcare,” she said. The bill prevents public bodies, such as municipalities and counties, from passing or enforcing anti-abortion ordinances. Clovis, Hobbs, Lea and Roosevelt counties have passed such ordinances in recent months.
A bill to prohibit public bodies from discriminating against reproductive healthcare or gender-affirming health care passed the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee by 6-to-3 party line vote on Wednesday. HB 7, Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare, is sponsored by state Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Albuquerque. The bill would enable the attorney general or a district attorney to sue an entity responsible for blocking access to reproductive health or gender-affirming care. The court could apply remedies, including monetary damages. The court can also apply a $5,000 civil penalty or actual damages against the entity responsible for the discrimination.
A bill to protect abortion and gender-affirming care providers from out-of-state forces passed the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee by a 5-3 party vote on Wednesday. SB 13, seeks to protect abortion providers and gender-affirming care providers in New Mexico from civil or criminal liability and from discrimination by licensing boards and from other states where reproductive care or gender-affirming care are not protected. State Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, is the bill’s primary sponsor. This is the second of two reproductive rights bills introduced into the Legislature this session. The first one to go through committee hearings, HB 7, Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare, passed the House floor Tuesday evening by a vote of 38 to 31.
A bill that would prohibit discrimination in reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming healthcare passed the House by a 38 to 31 vote on Tuesday evening. HB 7, Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare, will, if enacted, prohibit municipalities and counties from passing ordinances that directly or indirectly discriminate against either reproductive and gender-affirming care. The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe. The bill seeks to enable the attorney general or district attorneys to sue an entity responsible for a violation. The court could apply remedies, including monetary damages.