On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill into law that prohibits discriminating against organ donor recipients based solely on mental or physical disability. SB 71, known as Glory’s Law, was proposed by Senate Minority Whip Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho. The bill is named for Christy Sellers’ youngest daughter, Glory, who is almost completely deaf, has Down Syndrome and other issues affecting her heart and lungs. “I heard about a story in another state where a baby was denied a kidney transplant solely based on that child having Down Syndrome,” Sellers said at a press conference about the bill in January. “Right now, (New Mexico) doesn’t have any laws in place to protect people with disabilities should they need a transplant, they could be denied solely based on having Down Syndrome solely based on things that don’t affect their quality of life, or make them any less worthy.”
More: Law to ban discrimination against organ donor recipients has support
The bill is preventive legislation since no cases of discrimination against organ donor recipients have been reported in New Mexico.
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 that would codify School-Based Health Centers passed theSenate Health and Public Affairs Committee on a 6-1 party vote on Wednesday. SB 397, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, would codify into law School-Based Health Centers, which have been providing primary and behavioral health care to children in New Mexico for 25 years. State Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, asked how School-Based Health Centers help the LGBTQ community. Nancy Rodriguez, executive director of the Alliance of School-Based Health Centers (no relation to state Sen. Rodriguez) said that what services each School-Based Health Center provides depends on the school district, but she said they all provide primary and behavioral health. “They have a safe space through the PED and provide individual counseling,” the executive director said.
A Senate committee passed, with no recommendation, a bill that aims to reduce expulsions and suspensions for young learners by a 5-3 vote. SB 283 would, if enacted, prohibit the expulsion or suspension for more than three days of preschool, pre-K, kindergarten and first and second grade students. The bill would also make expelling or suspending for up to three days an option only if a child causes or threatens bodily injury to another person. It also contains a provision for data collection by both the Early Childhood Education and Care Department and by the Public Education Department on suspensions and expulsions. State Sen. Harold Pope, D-Albuquerque, is the sponsor.
The Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee passed a bill Wednesday that, if enacted, would prevent law enforcement from detaining individuals for federal civil immigration violations. SB 172 would prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement contracts with privately-owned prisons such as those in Torrance, Cibola and Otero Counties, bill co-sponsor Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, said. According to bill sponsors, the bill’s purpose is to help alleviate some of the issues plaguing current immigration policies. The bill passed on a 5-2 vote. “I… want to just point out this is not a private prison ban.
A bill that will make orders of protection easier for survivors to obtain passed the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee with no opposition. SB 18, Rename Family Violence Act, cleared the committee on an 8-0 vote. It will head to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. SB 18, sponsored by state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, significantly rewrites the Family Violence Protection Act to improve victims’ ability to request an order of protection and to expand the list of reasons an order can be obtained. If the bill becomes law a survivor will be able to request an order for protection in the event of kidnapping, false imprisonment, interference with communication, threats to disclose immigration status, harm or threats to harm animals to intimidate, threaten or harass a person and unauthorized distribution of sensitive images.
In November, voters will vote whether an additional 1.25 percent of distribution will come from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to help support early childcare education in New Mexico, as well as address some of the concerns raised in the Yazzie-Martinez lawsuit. The fund, also known as the Permanent School Fund, at around $25 billion, is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. It grows annually based on a rolling five-year average, which protects the fund from stock market crashes and reductions in oil and gas revenues. The state currently distributes 5 percent of the fund, annually, to the New Mexico Public Education Department and to 20 other public institutions. For 10 years legislators and early childcare advocates worked on a joint resolution that would allow voters to decide if an additional 1.25 percent of the fund’s growth could be spent on early childcare and at-risk students.
In many ways, it felt like high noon on the House floor for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Lawmakers on Friday debated one of the governor’s favored pieces of legislation — a crime reform bill that would do away with the six-year statute of limitations on second-degree murder charges. Moving the bill forward from the House of Representatives to the Senate with less than a week left to this year’s 30-day legislative session would provide a breakthrough — or at least movement — in what had been a succession of stalled measures. Fortunately for the governor, the drama was dispensed with quickly: It took the House less than 20 minutes to discuss and vote to approve House Bill 79, which now heads to the Senate for consideration. For Lujan Grisham, who has been pushing for tougher penalties for violent offenders and tighter pretrial release standards to keep those defendants behind bars, Friday’s action was a small victory.
ByRobert Nott and Daniel J. Chacón, Santa Fe New Mexican |
It has become a cycle of despair for low-income residents with poor credit scores: They take out a high-interest installment loan to tide them over in tough times and soon accumulate an unmanageable load. They pay off old debt with new loans at rates of up 175 percent. For years, state lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to introduce legislation capping the interest rate for such loans at 36 percent. Their efforts have failed repeatedly. An attempt last year to forge a compromise — with a 99 percent cap on the smallest loans, of up to $1,100, and 36 percent on higher amounts — stalled in the House of Representatives.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed into law what evolved into a sweeping change of state liquor laws.
HB 255, sponsored by Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, was originally intended to allow alcohol deliveries and add a new type of liquor dispensing license. But through a series of amendments on the Senate floor, the law now bans miniature liquor bottles, broadens the hours when liquor can be sold and allows for a ban of liquor sales at gas stations and convenience stores in McKinley County.
The bill proved controversial among many liquor license holders early on in the legislative process. Those existing license holders repeatedly argued that adding a new type of liquor license would devalue current licenses. For decades, New Mexico limited the number of liquor dispensing licenses which resulted in licenses being sold for upwards of half a million dollars. Many restaurant and bar owners said they used their licenses as collateral for loans.
But instead of issuing more dispensing licenses, the new law actually creates a new class of liquor licenses for restaurants that requires a certain amount of food to be sold and those who obtain the new class of license cannot sell any more than three drinks, containing one and a half ounces of hard alcohol.
Lujan Grisham, in a statement on Wednesday said the passage of the bill was the result of “productive and creating problem-solving” by lawmakers.
“Like any bipartisan compromise, at the end of the day, most if not all will feel both that they got some of what they wanted and had to give some of what they didn’t,” Lujan Grisham said.
During committee hearings many current license holders implied that the state could face lawsuits calling for state reimbursement to make up for a devalued license.