Dear Friends and Constituents:
The 2020 legislative session ended at noon on Thursday, February 20
. Much was accomplished for the State of New Mexico and Senate District 25. Here are a few highlights:
The first thirty-day session of the Lujan Grisham administration continued the collaborative leadership style that our state has so desperately needed. We are fortunate to have an engaged Governor who pushes hard but understands that compromise is what gets things done. The Senate was once again strongly bipartisan in its tone and work, and I commend senators from both sides of the aisle for their tireless efforts and focus on the people of New Mexico.
The focus of a thirty-day session is the state’s budget. The 7.6 billion dollar budget now on the Governor’s desk is bold, balanced, and contains a record 25% in reserves. We know from experience that New Mexico will see revenue downturns again; the oil and gas windfalls are welcome but will not last forever. Teachers and all state employees will receive an average 4% raise.
Early childhood programs are the foundational building blocks for our state’s future. Yet, while we have increased early childhood recurring funding over the last seven years (from $168 million to just under $500 million), we have been unable to agree on a long-term sustainable funding stream. That changed this year with the creation a new Early Childhood Permanent Fund. This endowment promises to give our youngest children access to the tools and resources they need to thrive. In addition, an enhanced Lottery Scholarship and the new Opportunity Scholarship will help cover unmet tuition and fees for our college students.
We strongly supported more access to health coverage for families, with general funds appropriations to the Human Services Department topping 1.2 billion dollars, an increase of almost 7%.
We passed a bill authorizing the state to pursue the importation of lower-cost wholesale prescription drugs from Canada, and a measure to cap the cost of insulin co-pays at $25 per prescription per 30-day period. The Kiki Saavedra Senior Dignity Fund will help address services for our senior community. The new Tobacco Products Act supports the effort to curb youth vaping and tobacco use, and makes New Mexico the first state to have a comprehensive regulatory act for e-cigarettes and e-liquids.
Senate Bill 5 established a new civil process where a law enforcement officer can petition a District Court for an extreme risk firearm protective order (ERPO) against an individual who poses a significant, imminent danger of harming oneself or another individual and seek temporary removal of weapons from their possession. Another measure increases the penalty for any felon in possession of a firearm from a fourth-degree felony to a third-degree felony, and increases the current basic sentence enhancement for a first noncapital felony in which a firearm was brandished.
The capital projects I funded along with the amount I contributed this year are listed
. Also listed are some specific local road projects that were authorized in a separate roads bill. As we do every year, the Santa Fe legislative delegation worked together to prioritize and fully fund projects.
Your input is always vital to me, and I appreciate the calls, e-mails and letters. Thank you again for granting me the privilege of representing you in the state Legislature.