SOS: The petitions seeking to repeal laws are not legitimate, first of several cases about it dismissed

Across New Mexico, a series of veto referendum petitions are being circulated by a conservative organization. These petitions, although not official, are an attempt to repeal six bills passed by the legislature during this year’s regular session. The New Mexico Family Action Movement, which claims that rights were taken away from New Mexicans by the […]

SOS: The petitions seeking to repeal laws are not legitimate, first of several cases about it dismissed

Across New Mexico, a series of veto referendum petitions are being circulated by a conservative organization.

These petitions, although not official, are an attempt to repeal six bills passed by the legislature during this year’s regular session.

The New Mexico Family Action Movement, which claims that rights were taken away from New Mexicans by the legislature during the legislative session due to the passage of these bills, is circulating the petitions.

The bills involve abortion rights, school-based health centers, gender identity, automatic voter registration and the new permanent absentee voter list and mandatory training for poll watchers and clarifying voter roll updates.

However, the petitions being circulated are not official, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

“We’ve been made aware that there is an effort to circulate petition referendums for a number of laws that passed the legislature last session,” Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas told NM Political Report. “However, at this point, the Secretary of State has not approved and certified, nor has the Attorney General signed, any referendum petitions submitted and none of the referendum petitions currently being circulated will be considered valid under the law to challenge laws passed during the 2023 legislative session. It is very disappointing that New Mexicans are being misled about this petition referendum process by certain groups and individuals.”

None of the bills targeted by the referendums are subject to the referendums, Curtas said, reiterating that these petitions are not valid.

“Invalid referendum petitions are being circulated throughout the state to challenge laws passed during the 2023 legislative session and if someone is asked to sign a referendum petition they need to make sure it checks all four of those boxes on the notice we have on our website. Which, again, at this point, none do,” Curtas said.

The SOS put a notice on its website alerting the public to what makes a referendum petition official to inform the public.

To ensure that the referendum petition being signed is valid, it will have an approval stamp on it from SOS Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the Attorney General’s signature and all legally required instructions for signers.

The Attorney General’s Office is consulted on all referendum petition requests and, according to Curtas, concurred with the SOS determination that the referendum petition be denied.

“To date, the Secretary of State has not approved and certified, nor has the Attorney General signed, any referendum petitions submitted and none of the referendum petitions currently being circulated will be considered valid under the law to challenge laws passed during the 2023 Legislative Session,” the notice states.

On June 7, one of the petitioners had a case in state district court dismissed with prejudice which means the case cannot be refiled.

The case was dismissed based on the petitioner’s “failure to demonstrate a basis for relief renders intervention improper moot,” the dismissal order states.

According to the New Mexico state constitution, the bills fall within an exception barring referendum on bills “providing for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety.”

The six laws in question were HB 7 which protects access to reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare, SB 13 which shields medical providers who provide abortion healthcare services and their patients from civil or criminal legal liability, SB 397 which codifies school-based health centers, HB 207 which expands the state Human Rights Act to include gender identity, HB 4 which expands voter rights protections to include automatic voter registration, restores voting rights to formerly incarcerated felons and established the Native American Voting Rights Act and SB 180 which made changes to the state’s election code.

According to documents on New Mexico Family Action Movement’s website, the reasons behind the group’s dissatisfaction with the bills claiming they violate parental rights, freedom of speech, election integrity and life.

“We have had a lot of people signing the petitions because they, whether they are Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, Independent, whatever. Many people are coming together to recognize the threat on our parents’ rights, our elections and, of course, our religious freedom,” NMFAM Executive Director Jodi Hendricks told NM Political Report on Wednesday.

Hendricks said that the SOS stating the petitions are invalid is “out of her scope of authority” and that bills in question do not fall under “preservation of public peace, health or safety” and that the SOS lacks the authority to make that determination, even though Toulouse Oliver nor her office ever made that assertion.”(Toulouse Oliver) is trying to say that they qualify as such and therefore don’t qualify for referendum,” Hendricks said.

The NMFAM website has a timer noting that as of June 14, there is about one day left to gather signatures, even though the referendum petitions are not legitimate without SOS approval or the NMAG’s signature.

Individuals associated with NMFAM have filed several court cases claiming Toulouse Oliver overstepped her authority by declaring the referendum petitions invalid.

“It is unfortunate that this group has not seen fit to educate themselves on the laws and requirements relating to the referendum process in New Mexico and instead continue to spread misinformation and encourage New Mexicans to sign invalid petitions,” Curtas told the NM Political Report.

In the event the petitions, of there is one for each bill in several counties across the states, are not accepted by the Toulouse Oliver’s office, Hendricks says that a larger lawsuit would be filed.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she will call the Legislature into a special session this summer to address public safety legislation that did…
Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized its controversial public lands rule on Thursday. This rule is controversial because it allows for conservation leasing…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury announced a bill on Thursday that would, if enacted, establish judicial ethics to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Judicial Ethics…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

By Justin Horwath, NM In Depth It’s a safe bet Democrats will barrel into 2025 with their supremacy intact at the New Mexico Legislature.…
Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

U.S. Rep. Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez, a Democrat who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, cosponsored a resolution on Monday calling…
Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

By Justin Horwath, NM In Depth It’s a safe bet Democrats will barrel into 2025 with their supremacy intact at the New Mexico Legislature.…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report