Guv issues executive order to further protect abortion access in New Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order on Monday to protect abortion providers from extradition if other states hostile to abortion rights attempt to pursue charges against the providers. Lujan Grisham signed the order during a press conference on Monday. She was flanked by representatives from abortion rights organizations and state Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque. Lopez sponsored the bill that repealed New Mexico’s 1969 law that banned abortion with few exceptions in 2021. Lujan Grisham said the order would provide protections in a number of ways, including ensuring access for individuals who reside in the state and also ensure protections for individuals traveling from out of the state.

Biden expands LGTBQIA+ rights in sweeping executive order

President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this month to expand equality for LGBTQIA+ individuals. The order is sweeping and involves several different federal agencies. It says that while the U.S. has advanced LGBTQIA+ rights in significant ways, much still needs to be done, particularly for transgender individuals and LGBTQIA+ individuals of color. Marshall Martinez, executive director of Equality New Mexico, said this is the “first time a sitting president has made such clear statements about queer and trans people.”

“It’s definitely a refreshing break from what we’ve been hearing and seeing so much of,” Martinez said. There has been an uptick of anti-trans bills introduced into state legislatures in recent years, according to LGTBQIA+ advocates.

U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, creating public health emergency

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade Friday morning, creating what individuals working on the front lines of reproductive access in New Mexico called a “public health emergency” during a press conference Friday afternoon. Farinaz Khan, a healthcare provider, said every abortion clinic in four states closed by Friday morning. “As women and people with uteruses, we are second class citizens in our own country. Our patients will be deeply harmed by this decision,” she said. Many during the press conference stressed that abortion is, and will remain, legal and safe in New Mexico.

Slight majority of voters give thumbs up to Gov on COVID response

A slight majority of voters support Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, while a slight plurality say the same about President Joe Biden according to a poll commissioned by NM Political Report. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 51 percent of voters approve of the job Lujan Grisham has done in handling the ongoing pandemic, while 46 percent disapproved. The same amount disapproved of President Joe Biden’s job performance on the pandemic, though just 48 percent said they approved. The approval largely fell along partisan lines, with 81 percent of Democrats approving of Biden’s handling of the pandemic compared to 10 percent who disapproved, while 86 percent of Republicans disapproved of the handling of the pandemic and 12 percent approved. Among independent voters, 61 percent disapproved, while 33 percent approved.

Poll: Lujan Grisham with narrow lead at start of general election

A new poll commissioned by NM Political Report shows that incumbent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham holds a narrow lead over Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti at the start of the general election campaign. The poll by Public Policy Polling shows Lujan Grisham leads Ronchetti 45 percent to 42 percent, with Libertarian Karen Bedonie receiving 9 percent and 5 percent saying they’re not sure. The lead for Lujan Grisham is within the margin of error for the poll. Related: Poll: Lujan Grisham even approval/disapproval ratings

Lujan Grisham won the 2018 gubernatorial campaign 57.2 percent to 42.8 percent over Steve Pearce, the Republican candidate and now chair of the Republican Party of New Mexico. Ronchetti lost the 2020 U.S. Senate election to Democrat Ben Ray Luján 51.7 percent to 45.6 percent with Libertarian Bob Walsh taking 2.6 percent.

Poll: Lujan Grisham even approval/disapproval ratings

Just under 50 percent of New Mexico voters approve of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s job performance according to a recent poll commissioned by NM Political Report. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 48 percent of New Mexico voters approved of her job performance while an equal 48 percent disapproved. Another 5 percent were not sure. The numbers do not add up to 100 percent because of rounding. Lujan Grisham’s approval was higher among women than men, with 54 percent of women approving of her job performance and 54 percent of men disapproving.

EPA, state reach settlement over Gold King Mine spill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to pay the state of New Mexico $32 million as part of a settlement announced Thursday in the Gold King Mine spill case. In August 2015, EPA crews triggered a mine spill in Colorado that sent heavy-metal laden water into the Animas River, which flows through northwest New Mexico. “There were failures in the system and there were a lot of questions and there was a lot of fear in this community,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said. “I still remember coming in that day, and it was chaotic.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Balderas, New Mexico Environment Department Secretary James Kenney and EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe met with reporters and community leaders at the Farmington Museum to announce the settlement. Balderas said that, in the wake of the mine spill, New Mexico officials realized “the state was going to have to get into a fistfight to really be a voice and to assess damages.”

While EPA Administrator Michael Regan did not attend the event, the agency sent out a statement following the announcement.

Advocates, elected officials and the public respond with rallies and outrage over Supreme Court draft decision on abortion rights

The leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the case that appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade woke up many on Tuesday to a “shocking” reality which may be imminent. Politico released on Monday a leaked draft document, dated February from the Supreme Court. The document is a majority opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case the court heard in early December. Because the document is still a draft, there is still opportunity for the court to rule differently in late June or early July, though it appears unlikely with the current makeup of the court. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito authored the draft, which overturns Roe v. Wade and rules in favor of the state of Mississippi in the Dobbs case.

Gov. Lujan Grisham signs special session relief bill

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill on Friday that will provide New Mexicans with payments up to $1,000. 

HB 2, which the Legislature passed earlier this week during a special legislative session, uses $698 million to provide $500 to single tax filers and $1,000 to joint filers. The legislation will also use $20 million to provide relief, on a first-come, first-served basis, to those who did not file income taxes.  

“Today I am glad to enact legislation easing the burden of high national prices, putting money in New Mexicans’ pockets and protecting their paychecks,” Lujan Grisham said. 

Lujan Grisham also signed SB 1, which will set aside $50 million for community projects around the state. Referred to as a “junior” spending bill, SB 1 was the second attempt of a bill that the Legislature passed during the 30-day session earlier this year, but that Lujan Grisham pocket vetoed. 

Both bills come on the heels of a bill that the Legislature passed during the 30-day session and the governor signed that will provide up to $1,500 in relief to New Mexico households to counter increased gas prices. 

State expands postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months

The New Mexico Human Services Department will expand postpartum Medicaid availability to 12 months of coverage starting Friday. The agency began efforts this past winter to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months with a target date of April 1. The state is able to expand the coverage from two months to 12 months due to recent changes in federal law that allows the state to change how it asks for Medicaid dollars. The expansion will continue for five years. After that, the federal government will decide to continue to allow the expansion.