2020 Legislature

The youngest stars are shown as red while more evolved stars are shown as blue.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA / Creative Commons

It’s a weird time. We’ve got a global pandemic, an uprising against racist police violence and a special legislative session dropped in the middle of it—the likes of which no one’s ever seen before. Maybe one that people still aren’t seeing because there have been so many access issues. In episode 79, we dig in to bring you what’s new and developing with the emergency legislative session. What bills have been passed, what is on the way and what is being held until January are just a few of the topics we cover. We talk with journalists from New Mexico PBS and the NM Political Report. We also hear from an advocate who is on the forefront of voting rights in tribal lands.

Granger Meador via Flickr / Creative Commons

The New Mexico Legislature encountered many technical hurdles during its first day of the emergency special session called to patch up a budget thrashed by coronavirus. But the Roundhouse is also closed to the public due to concerns about viral spread; lawmakers, staffers and the media are the only ones allowed in the building. The doors are locked. There was a small group of protesters outside on Thursday wanting to go in and see their lawmakers in action. KUNM’s Nash Jones spoke with Khalil Ekulona, host of Your New Mexico Government, about a session that’s hard to access in every way.

Arianna Sena / KUNM

  Let's Talk New Mexico 3/5 8a: Lobbyists spent more than $195,000 on events, meals and giveaways for state legislators during the 2019 legislative session, working out to more than $6,500 a day. Ethics advocates worry that this kind of spending influences those legislators’ decisions in the Roundhouse, and think the public has a right to know exactly what’s going on.

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New Mexico could soon have a retirement plan for privately employed and self-employed workers after a bill to create an online retirement exchange passed nearly unanimously through the legislature and heads to the governor’s desk for her signature.

 

Let's Talk Wrapping Up The 2020 Legislative Session

Feb 18, 2020
Hannah Colton / KUNM


  Let's Talk New Mexico 2/20 8a: The 2020 legislative session finishes up Thursday. As those final hours close in, we’ll discuss where high-profile proposals stand – like the red-flag firearm bill, and recreational cannabis – as well as the fate of some important bills that you may have not heard of.

 

And we want to hear from you. Which proposals were you happy to see pass? Which stalled bills frustrated you? Email LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweet using #LetsTalkNM, or call in live during the show.

 

NEW: We're partnering with NMPBS to livestream video of the Thursday call-in show. Watch live at New Mexico PBS or KUNM on Facebook, or listen as always on 89.9 FM or KUNM.org.

 

vaping360.com / Creative Commons

New Mexico high schoolers are more than twice as likely to vape nicotine than use traditional tobacco products, according to the state’s Department of Health. A bill moving through the state Legislature that would license tobacco in the state for the first time would also regulate e-cigarettes. 

Night Owl City via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Number Of Suspensions Increase At Albuquerque Public Schools -Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A school district in New Mexico has released a report that showed more than 4,000 students were suspended last year compared to the previous year, revealing previous improper documentation.

U.S. Air Force photo/Benjamin Thacker / Creative Commons

The New Mexico Human Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on race, sex, disability, and more. A bill working its way through the Legislature would add pregnancy to the list. The Pregnant Worker Accommodation bill was approved on a 65-0 vote in the House Thursday, Feb. 6.

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New Mexico Lawmakers Press For Higher Spending, Teacher PayAssociated Press

Democratic legislators pressed a plan Wednesday to increase annual state spending by more than a half-billion dollars to expand early childhood education programs, boost teacher salaries and shore up health care for the poor.

n8agrin via flickr

New Mexico is among a handful of states that allow vague reporting on spending by lobbyists – people whose business it is to push an issue at the Roundhouse or otherwise try to influence the government. A new report last month shows how money is being spent and highlights the lack of transparency when it comes to money in politics. Executive Director of New Mexico Ethics Watch, Kathleen Sabo, sat down with KUNM to talk about the group's findings.

H. Zell via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons

Hemp was legalized in last year’s legislative session and this year, a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana is moving through the Legislature. The new hemp farms in New Mexico could pose a risk to outdoor marijuana crops.

Hemp and marijuana are different strains of the same plant. However, Jill Browning, chairwoman of the New Mexico Hemp Association, says the two industries differ in how they grow, produce and manufacture their products. “There is one thing that overlaps, and that is pollenization," she said.

John Miller via Pixabay / Creative Commons

A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in New Mexico stalled in the Senate last year. Over the summer, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham convened a work group to study the issue and gather public comment, and the group released recommendations for legalization that—among other things—prioritized equity for people who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Rep. Javier Martínez, one of the sponsors of this year’s bill, spoke with KUNM about this year’s proposal, which passed out of the Senate Public Affairs Committee on a 4-3 party-line vote Tuesday, Jan. 28. 

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Lawmakers Assured Review Of Nuclear Weapons Work To Be Open - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation say they've been assured by U.S. officials that a review of a proposal to ramp up production of key components for the nation's nuclear arsenal will be open and transparent.

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham delivers the annual State of the State address today at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe, launching the 2020 legislative session. KUNM fact-checks and provides context for her remarks live with our Your N.M. Government media partners New Mexico PBS and The Santa Fe Reporter, as well as the New Mexico Political Report, Searchlight New Mexico and The Alamogordo Daily News