A bill to prohibit public bodies from discriminating against individuals seeking reproductive or gender-affirming healthcare passed the state Senate on a 23 to 15 vote on Tuesday after a contentious debate. HB 7, Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care, is sponsored by state Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe. State Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, who worked on the bill ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, led the debate on the Senate floor. The bill generated a nearly three-hour debate over issues various Republicans have brought up previously in committee hearings: parental consent, the gender-affirming healthcare model, conscientious objections by medical providers and the definition of the term “perinatal.”
The bill prohibits public bodies and individuals acting on behalf of a public body from discriminating against individuals seeking reproductive or gender-affirming healthcare. This includes abortion.
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 House Education Committee passed the bill to codify School-Based Health Centers into state statute by a party line vote of 8-to-4 on Monday. SB 397, School-Based Health Centers, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, would not change the way School-Based Health Centers already operate in the state. The local school district as well as the individual school determine if the school will have a School-Based Health Center and decide what provider the school will contract with. Republicans have expressed concern over this bill, saying that parents do not receive notification for reproductive healthcare and that the districts do not have local control. Rodriguez said she is also concerned about local control and the bill does not reduce a district’s or a school’s ability to choose which provider the school contracts with or what services the provider provides.
The state Senate passed the Paid Family and Medical Leave bill that would enable employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid time off for health emergencies and certain other claims.
SB 11, sponsored primarily by Senate Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, seeks to allow an employee to take paid time off for a major health issue, to care for a family member with a major health issue, to care for a new child and in the event of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.
The bill passed the Senate on a 23 to 15 vote. The state Department of Workforce Solutions would administer the program. Employees would pay $5 for every $1,000 of income and employers with five or more employees would pay $4 for every $1,000 of income. When taking the paid leave, the employee who makes more than minimum wage would not receive their entire salary but a percentage of it. Stewart said this creates an incentive for the employee to get healthy and get back to work as quickly as possible.
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 expand the scope of the New Mexico Human Rights Act to include protections for the LGBTQ community passed the House by 47-to-20. HB 207, Expand the Human Rights Act Scope, is sponsored by state Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos. It updates language in the state Human Rights Act to better reflect current language for the LGBTQ community and for the disabled community. The words “handicap” would be replaced with “disability” and the bill includes words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” It would also define the words “sex” and “gender.”
The bill would also expand the scope of current statute to prohibit public bodies and government contractors who receive public funding from discriminating against LGBTQ individuals. The New Mexico Human Rights Act was written in 1971 and updated in 2003, Ortez said.
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.
The state Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would, if enacted, make grants available to rural healthcare facilities to expand or create new services by a vote of 28-to-8. SB 7, Rural Healthcare Delivery Fund, sponsored by state Sen. Liz Stefanics, D-Los Cerrillos, aims to establish a grant program for rural healthcare services, operated by the New Mexico Department of Human Services. Healthcare facilities in 28 of the state’s 33 counties would be eligible. The grants would be for one and no more than five years of operation. The grant money would cover operating losses and the grantee would be required to provide verifiable claims and cost data, Stefanics said.
Glory’s Law, which seeks to ban discrimination against organ donors based on mental or physical disability, unanimously passed its first house committee Tuesday. SB 71 is a preventive measure, since no known cases of organ donor discrimination based on disability have occurred in New Mexico according to the bill’s lead sponsor Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, said. “This bill is actually a simple bill but has profound effects,” Brandt said. This bill simply makes it illegal to discriminate against a disabled person when it comes to organ transplants.”
The bill came about after a case in another state where a 27-year old Down Syndrome patient was refused an organ donation and died. More: Law to ban discrimination against organ donor recipients has support
Brandt disclosed that as a disabled person himself, the bill affects him personally.
A bill to codify School-Based Health Centers, which have been serving students for 25 years, passed the state Senate chamber on Monday. SB 397 passed the state Senate 26 to 11 after lengthy debate on the floor. The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, said it was a simple bill that did not fundamentally change how the health center currently operate. “This does nothing more than codify School-Based Health Centers. They are not statutorily protected.