Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham flanked by legislative Democratic leaders and public safety experts delivers an update to a public health order concerning firearms.

Guv takes blocked gun ban out of public health order, will not call special session

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham discussed amendments to a controversial public health order that had sought to temporarily prohibit carrying of firearms in public locations in Bernalillo County during a press conference on Friday. She said that she would not call a special session to address gun violence as some have called for. The most consequential amendment removed the temporary ban on carrying firearms. The change came after Federal District Court Judge David H. Urias issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday halting the firearm ban. 

The governor also amended the order to include the Roundhouse, public parks and playgrounds as areas that are gun-free zones. The federal court hearing involved five cases against Lujan Grisham and other state officials, and argued the firearm ban was unconstitutional. Between the lawsuits, public outcry and some of Lujan Grisham’s fellow Democrats refusing to enforce the order or refusing to represent the governor in the heap of lawsuits about it, Lujan Grisham decided to amend the order.

Rep. Miguel Garcia

State Rep. challenges governor’s vetoes of tax omnibus

Near the end of the 2023 New Mexico Legislative Session, the legislature passed a tax omnibus bill that was eventually signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The tax omnibus bill, HB 547, took about a month to reach the final version that both the state House and state Senate agreed to send to Lujan Grisham for her consideration. 

Lujan Grisham approved the bill with heavy line-item vetoes. Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, filed for a writ of mandamus in the New Mexico Supreme Court on Wednesday. The filing stated that Lujan Grisham did not have the constitutional right to line item veto any of the tax omnibus bill since it did not include any appropriation. A writ of mandamus is a court order to a government official “compelling performance of a ministerial act that the law recognizes as an absolute duty… it is used only when all other judicial remedies have failed,” according to Barron’s Law Dictionary.

With increasing heat waves and school days, what are public schools in New Mexico to do?

On the hottest two days in July in Las Cruces, when temperatures soared to 109 and 108 on July 19 and 20 respectively, some students in the district rode home in the middle of the afternoon on buses that lacked air conditioning. Parents complained and the Las Cruces School Board of Education President Teresa Tenorio rode a few school buses herself to experience what the children were going through. The children who suffered were not only on buses that lacked air conditioning in the excessive heat. Parents also complained of buses that have air conditioning but said the circulation is not strong enough to keep all the children on the bus cool in the record high heat. “Buses that do have air conditioning may not function optimally,” Tenorio said during a Las Cruces Public School Board meeting on Tuesday.

Paid family and medical leave: Ramping up with new strategy to pass the legislature in 2024

The Southwest Women’s Law Center is holding its first of 11 town halls in Albuquerque this week to both discuss a proposed bill to provide paid family and medical leave that will be introduced in the 2024 legislature but also to ask the public to share stories about what this bill would mean to them if it becomes law. The proposal has been introduced in the legislature since 2019 with the exception of the 2022 session. That year, legislators passed a memorial instead that established a task force to bring various stakeholders to the table to arrive at a bill that addressed competing interests. Legislators introduced the bill, which would enable employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid time off for a new child or for a major health event, again in the 2023 legislative session. The bill passed the Senate, b died in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee when a few Democrats sided with Republicans and voted against it in the final week of the session.

Bill expanding eligibility for displaced worker assistance heads to Senate floor

A bill that would expand who is eligible to receive funding from the displaced workers fund created by the Energy Transition Act passed the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee on Tuesday on a 10-0 vote. The Energy Transition Act originally required displaced workers to apply for assistance through the fund within one year of losing their jobs. However, layoffs associated with the closure of the San Juan Generating Station and San Juan Mine began in 2020 and funding was not available until 2022. That means many workers who lost their jobs are ineligible to receive the assistance. HB 449, sponsored by Rep. Anthony Allison, D-Fruitland, would remove the time requirement.