What the Supreme Court abortion draft opinion means for Indigenous people

Earlier this spring, the need for financial assistance to obtain an abortion caused abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising to take a break so the grassroots organization could “catch up” financially. The need was “so intense” IWR almost ran out of money, Rachel Lorenzo (Mescalero Apache/Laguna Pueblo/Xicana), co-founder of IWR, said. Lorenzo, who uses they/them pronouns, said that the group is still on break. But when IWR returns to funding abortion patients later this month, the organization will return to its original mission of providing abortion care funding to Indigenous individuals. Last year, in response to the Texas “vigilante” law that prohibits abortion in that state after six weeks, IWR broadened its funding to include undocumented individuals.

Senate blocks effort to codify Roe v. Wade

A vote in the U.S. Senate to end the filibuster on the Women’s Health Protection Act failed on Wednesday. The Senate took up the issue originally in February when Senate Republicans filibustered the bill. To end the filibuster and allow the Senate to vote on the legislation, Senate Democrats needed 60 votes in support. With one Democrat siding with Republicans and a 50-50 party split in the chamber, Democrats lacked enough votes to try to hear the bill on the floor. The Women’s Health Protection Act would have codified Roe v. Wade in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s final decision on the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban expected this summer.

Stansbury speaks in support of renewing the federal Child Tax Credit

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury called renewing the federal Child Tax Credit an equity issue during a press conference on Thursday. The federal Child Tax Credit, which provided $3,000 per child between ages 6 and 17 and $3,600 per child under 6 the last six months of 2021, was a measure within the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The average Child Tax Credit payment per household was $444 in December according to a U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee report. Democrats are now seeking to renew and extend the federal Child Tax Credit through the Build Back Better Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in Nov. by a vote of 220–213, along party lines, but the bill has stalled in the U.S. Senate which is more evenly divided.

Bill to protect women’s right to abortion passes U.S. House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act on Friday by 218 to 211 largely along party lines. One Texas Democrat voted against it while all Republicans voted against the bill. U.S. Representatives Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, and Teresa Leger Fernández New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, both Democrats, voted for the bill. The bill would protect women’s right to an abortion in every state and end gestational bans and other restrictions to reproductive access. The bill is unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate.

Five ways the federal infrastructure bill could benefit New Mexico projects

From municipal water system resiliency to energy projects, the bipartisan infrastructure package that passed the U.S. Senate on a 69-30 vote this week could help a variety of projects within the state. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is reconvening on Aug. 23—about a month earlier than it had previously planned. In a statement following the passage of the bill, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján, a New Mexico Democrat, said that it will “bring billions of dollars to New Mexico to modernize our infrastructure and create new jobs and opportunities. From repairing our roads and highways to taking aim at the digital divide, this legislation will make a difference in the lives of all New Mexicans.”

Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority

The bill also provides $5 billion in funding for water projects in the western United States and, according to a press release from U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, will fund the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority’s project to pipe water from Ute Lake near Logan to communities in the eastern part of the state as far south as Elida that currently get water from the depleting and deteriorating Ogallala aquifer.

2020 Elections: U.S. Senate candidates on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. Three candidates are running for the U.S. Senate in a seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall. Udall announced in March of 2019 that he would not run for reelection.  

The three candidates are Democrat and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Republican and former TV meteorologist Mark Ronchetti and Libertarian Bob Walsh. Luján has served as U.S. Rep. for New Mexico’s third congressional district since 2009. In 2019, he was voted  Assistant Speaker of the House by the House Democratic caucus. Luján also served on the state’s Public Regulation Commission from 2005-2008 and served as chairman of the commission from 2005 to 2007. You can read our interview with Luján here.

Candidate Q&A: Bob Walsh on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

The following interview is with Libertarian Bob Walsh, who is running for the U.S. Senate in a seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall. Udall announced in March of 2019 that he would not run for reelection. 

Walsh is a retired scientist with degrees in physics, mathematics and biology. Walsh was a legislative assistant to former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, and was an Assistant Democratic Party Ward Coordinator in 2005-2006. 

Walsh is running against former TV meteorologist and political newcomer Mark Ronchetti, a Republican, and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján. Ronchetti did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. You can read our Q&A with Luján here. 

NM Political Report (NMPR): What energy future do you see for New Mexico and the United States?

Candidate Q&A: Ben Ray Luján on environmental issues

This week, we’re running a series of interviews with New Mexico’s federal candidates, each of whom answered questions about issues related to our energy future, water scarcity and climate change. 

The following interview is with U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is running for the U.S. Senate in a seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall. Udall announced in March of 2019 that he would not run for reelection.  

Luján, a Democrat, has served as U.S. Rep. for New Mexico’s third congressional district since 2009. In 2019, he was voted  Assistant Speaker of the House by the House Democratic caucus. 

Luján also served on the state’s Public Regulation Commission from 2005-2008 and served as chairman of the commission from 2005 to 2007. 

Luján is running against former TV meteorologist and political newcomer Mark Ronchetti, a Republican, and Bob Walsh, a Libertarian. Ronchetti did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. You can read our Q&A with Walsh here. 

NM Political Report (NMPR): What energy future do you see for New Mexico and the United States?

Luján: ‘I’m running to be your next United States senator’

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján is running for Senate. The six-term congressman from northern New Mexico announced his candidacy for the open U.S. Senate seat in a video from his family farm in Nambé on Monday morning. “I’m running to be your next United States senator,” Luján said. “I’ve been humbled by all of the outreach telling me to run and it’s been an honor to serve you in the House, where we’ve accomplished a lot together.”

After listing some of his accomplishments, including that he “led the effort to win back the House,” the Democrat turned his attention towards the Senate. “To move forward, we’ve got to fix the Senate, where Mitch McConnell stands in the way of progress,” he said.

NMMI records detail numerous construction delays in Mick Rich project

Mick Rich’s slogan for his U.S. Senate campaign is “Send a hard hat to Washington.” Like many candidates, Rich promotes his day job and business skills to show he’s the best choice to represent New Mexicans in the U.S. Senate. His background in major construction projects and his support for the military and national laboratories, Rich has said, qualifies him to represent the state. But records from the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) show friction between Rich’s contracting company and school officials over a project that should have been finished last year, but still has pending work to be done. When NM Political Report first asked about the contentious emails and letters, a school official downplayed the delayed project. Rich, however, blamed poor planning from the project’s architect, engineer and school officials for the delay.