Bill to provide free menstrual products in schools heads to Guv’s desk

A bill to make menstrual products available for free in all public schools will now head to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisahm’s desk. HB 134 passed the Senate Tuesday night by a vote of 27-13. State Sen. Leo Jaramillo, D-Española, a bill sponsor, spoke of period poverty, which is when low-income women and girls struggle to afford menstrual products and the additional burden for individuals to purchase menstrual products. The bill passed after a small amount of debate. State Sen. Gregg Schmedes, R-Tijeras, questioned the part of the bill that requires that one boy’s bathroom in every elementary, middle and high school in the state will include a dispensary carrying the products.

Bill to abolish publication of a name change heads to Guv’s desk

A bill to abolish the requirement to publish a name change passed the state Senate by a vote of 35-5 on Tuesday. HB 31, sponsored by state Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, will now head to the governor’s desk. 

State Sen. Leo Jaramillo, D-Española, presented the bill on the Senate floor and said it will help survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence. The bill also protects transgender individuals. 

The current statute, written in 1889, requires the publication of a name change in a local newspaper for 14 consecutive days. HB 31 removes that requirement from the statute and allows a child under the age of 14 who undergoes a name change to have their records sealed. The bill also enables a person under the age of 18 to only need one parent’s consent on a name change in the event the child is not safe from both parents or legal guardians.

Bill to codify School-Based Health Centers heads to House floor

A bill codifying School-Based Health Centers passed by a 5-3 party line vote in the House Health and Human Services Committee on Monday. SB 397, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, would codify the School-Based Health Centers that already exist in the schools and have for 25 years into state law. The bill does not change parental notification or change the way the centers are run or the services they provide. Republicans have repeatedly expressed concern about children receiving reproductive health care services at the School-Based Health Centers without parental notification. State Rep. Harlan Vincent, R-Riudoso Downs, asked if a 14-year-old receives treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, if the center notifies the parent.

Bill to end life without parole as a sentencing option heads to Guv’s desk

A bill to eliminate life in prison without the possibility of parole for juveniles sentenced as adults passed the House in the early hours of Sunday morning by a 37-25 vote. State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, sponsored SB 64. House Majority Leader Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, a cosponsor, presented the bill to the House. The bill would, if enacted, retroactively impact 70 adults out of a prison population of about 7,000 individuals in New Mexico and it will end the possibility of a child sentenced as an adult of being given the sentence of life without the chance of parole. It would not automatically grant parole.

Guv’s funding for reproductive healthcare clinic survives challenge in House

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.

Bill to protect abortion patients and providers passes state Senate

The bill to protect abortion and gender-affirming providers and patients from out-of-state entities passed the state Senate by a 26-6 vote. SB 13, would codify Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order from last summer. The bill would protect both providers and patients seeking abortion care and gender-affirming healthcare from other states or individuals out of state who try to seek information about the patient or provider. State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, also a bill sponsor, said the bill will “ensure no one is criminalized for safe and legal healthcare.”

“It privileges certain healthcare information so patients and providers can go without fear of out-of-state criminal or civil liability,” she said. Related: First of two abortion right bills heads to Guv’s desk

Republicans argued that the bill is not constitutional, that it conflicts with both the U.S. Constitution and with the state’s constitution.

Rural healthcare bill heads to House

A bill to establish a grant-making program to enable providers to set up new services in rural counties passed the House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously on Friday. SB 7, sponsored by state Sen. Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics, D-Los Cerrillos, is a bill supported by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, Stefanics said. It would create a grant program within the New Mexico Health Department that would provide grants to provider groups, clinics and hospitals who are expanding care with new programs but operating at a loss. The program would only be available in counties with less than 100,000 population. Urban providers who want to establish a mobile unit or telehealth options in rural communities may also apply, Stefanics said.

First of two abortion right bills heads to Guv’s desk

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.

Bill to remove barriers to STI testing clears first House committee

A bill to eliminate copays, cost sharing and deductibles to remove barriers to sexually transmitted infection testing passed the House Health and Human Services Committee 7-3. Bill cosponsor state Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos, said that if SB 132 is enacted, it will help reduce the rising number of STIs in the state by removing barriers to testing. The STI Prevention and Treatment Act would enable individuals to be more likely to get tested and treated, which becomes a preventive measure since most STIs do not exhibit symptoms but can lead to later issues such as infertility. 

State Rep. Stefani Lord, R-Sandia Park, said she could not support the bill because it wasn’t fair to cancer patients, individuals with dementia and individuals living with AIDS. 

State Rep. Joanne Ferrary, D-Las Cruces, asked if the bill would enable School-Based Health Centers to offer STI testing and treatment. 

Expert witness Kayla Herring, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said the bill does not mandate that and that School-Based Health Centers are “handled at the individual school level.”

The bill heads next to the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.

Bill to provide free menstrual products in schools clears Senate committee

The Senate Education Committee passed a bill that will make menstrual products free in public schools in New Mexico by a vote of 5 to 1 on Wednesday. Sponsored by state Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, HB 134, would require a product dispensing machine to be put into every girl’s bathroom in elementary, middle school and high school in New Mexico, including charter schools. Menstrual Products in School Bathrooms will also require one product dispensary to go in one boy’s bathroom in each school. A $1.2 million appropriation is already in HB 2, the budget bill, to make these products available to students and place the dispensing machines into the schools. Some Republicans have fought over the issue of a dispensing machine going into boy’s bathrooms. The bill was heard on the House floor earlier this week, where it passed by a vote of 42 to20.