Legislative Session Begins to Ramp Up
The first week of the New Mexico legislative session began this year with an unusual twist. In consideration of all the hoopla surrounding the national ‘#Me Too’ movement, all legislators were required to come in a day early to attend a sexual harassment training session. That movement had already caused a leadership upheaval, as Senate Democratic Whip Michael Padilla had been forced out due to allegations that had surfaced at the end of last year. When the session actually began on Tuesday, the Democrats chose Senator Mimi Stewart to replace Sen. Padilla in that role. All other leadership positions in both parties remained unchanged.
As usual, our annual legislative session opened with the Governor giving a ‘State-of-the-State’ address, preceded by seemingly endless introductions of the various VIP’s in attendance. With a Gubernatorial election looming in November, this address was her 8th and final summary.
As expected, there weren’t many surprises in her agenda, with the economy, crime and education reform measures all receiving mention. The only possible surprise was a hint of a higher revenue projection to be announced, perhaps $330 million in new money available for the next budget cycle.
The rest of the week was fairly routine, with legislators putting the final touches on any bills that had not yet been introduced, and meeting in their various caucuses to strategize. As former President Bush so eloquently put it, we’ll see where their ‘strategery’ leads us in the coming weeks, but it’s a pretty good bet that we won’t see a lot of big changes occurring this year. With the impending fall elections, a lot of issues will be put on hold until 2019.
That said, it should be noted that in a rather rare show of unity, our legislators were able to beat a Friday deadline to send a bill to the Governor that renewed a nursing compact that was critically needed to allow nurses from other states to practice here. That done, they took the weekend off in anticipation of an increasing work load that will quickly ramp up this week.
We have posted a list of bills we are tracking so far on our website, and will update it daily. So, as we wait for bills to begin their movement through the committee process, we will leave you with this nugget of advice from the recent sexual harassment training session: to avoid any unwanted media attention, you should endeavor to keep all of your greeting hugs to 2 seconds or less.
Altogether now: One Mississippi…two Mississippi…break!
NMLTA Office Building
1511 University Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102