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In the wake of continued police violence, people across the country are calling for greater accountability for police officers. Some reformers are targeting a legal doctrine called qualified immunity that makes it nearly impossible for people to successfully sue officers for civil rights violations. New Mexico lawmakers are expected to take up the issue in January’s legislative session. State lawmakers on the Criminal Justice Reform Subcommittee discussed qualified immunity with experts during an interim meeting Monday

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New Mexico Legislature Backs Mandatory Police Body Cameras - By Morgan Lee Associated Press

New Mexico's Legislature has approved a proposal to make police body cameras mandatory for nearly all state and local law enforcement officers. 

In episode 78 we discuss what’s happening in Santa Fe at the legislative special session. It’s a unique situation up there; COVID-19 precautions have led to a locked-in session with no opportunity for citizens to attend in person. But first, we hear from organizers of the Albuquerque Juneteenth celebration commemorating 155 years since the official end of slavery in Texas, with the entire United States following soon after. 

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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.

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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. 

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A nonpartisan statewide think tank is warning the high rate of seniors living in poverty in New Mexico could grow without significant changes. Think New Mexico is supporting legislation to curtail what policy experts there call a crisis in retirement security that is quietly growing throughout the state. KUNM spoke with Executive Director Fred Nathan about reforms he says are necessary to protect the state’s seniors, now and in the future.

courtesy of GBCS

 

UPDATE 1/31 2p: Peña-Hanson says she is no longer supporting both bills and that Gordon Bernell Charter School will focus only on HB 152.

New Mexico lawmakers are considering setting aside $6 million dollars in the higher education budget for some charter schools that educate adults. Last year, legislators changed the K-12 funding formula so public schools can no longer get money for students who are over 21. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The 2020 census starts in a couple months, and organizers are reaching out to populations in New Mexico that historically were undercounted. A bill to spend $8 million on outreach efforts passed its first legislative hurdle on Thursday, Jan. 23. 

May Ortega / KUNM

Even before former Gov. Susana Martinez kicked the legs out from under behavioral health care system six years ago, services in the state were inadequate. Lawmakers met on Thursday, July 25, and wrestled with questions about what a good system should look like and what to do next.

Arianna Sena / KUNM

When the Legislature is not in session in New Mexico, lawmakers still meet and hold hearings about things like education funding, solitary confinement, green energy jobs and more. When these off-session meetings happen in Santa Fe, they’re live-streamed, and anyone around the state can tune in. But if they’re held anywhere else in New Mexico, the public’s out of luck. That might be changing.

Pre-Existing Conditions Bill Heads To Governor

Mar 15, 2019
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The Affordable Care Act says health insurers can’t deny coverage for someone or charge them more if they have a pre-existing condition.

State senators approved a local measure 21-14 Thursday night that would protect folks in case that law is weakened or repealed. It now heads to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's desk.