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PDACNM Newsletter, January 19, 2019

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(You will make a difference just by taking a few minutes in a comfortable chair)
We prioritize the most progressive bills that fit our issues and send out action alerts when those bills are to come up for votes. We include an explanation of the bills and the names and contact information of legislators to email or call. If you would like to participate in these action alerts, please contact Paul Stokesat (  Please do whatever you have time to do. Any effort goes a long way.

Promotional Information About the PDA Feb 13 Community Meeting

Join Millions for Prisoners and demand an end to the criminal INJUSTICES being done to New Mexicans every day across the state.

Selinda Guerrero, prominent local organizer and activist who represents Millions for Prisoners, Save the Kids, Building Power for Black New Mexico, and Strong Families will be joined by Kelly Garcia Chavez and Justin Allen, Field Organizers with Millions for Prisoners, to share truths, personal stories and actions we can all take during our PDA February 13th community gathering.

Get to know Millions for Prisoners at

About:  In solidarity with all being held behind the walls and by oppressive institutions, laws and policies, we seek to unite activists, advocates, prisoners, ex-prisoners, their family and friends. Abolish the 13th!

Read their media here

Mass incarceration includes such issues as the prison industrial complex, privatization of prisons, disproportionate imprisonment of people of color, school push-out of students of color, the school-to-prison pipeline, mandatory minimum sentences, and legalizing marijuana.

Did you know . . .

  • 25% of the world’s prisoners are imprisoned within our country’s borders yet Americans account for only 5% of the world’s population?
  • Today in the U.S., nearly SEVEN MILLION people are incarcerated, on probation or on parole?
  • New Mexico has the largest number of private prisons in the nation?
  • The profits for private prisons operated by for-profit corporations have increased more than 500% in the last 20 years?
  • ICE is now effectively in our schools? Without any legal changes, schools have become the start of a law-enforcement chain that lets ICE agents on transnational-crime task forces arrest and deport youth who are merely suspected of gang affiliation? (Hannah Dreier, ProPublica)
  • Here in NM, you can have your parole violated and be sent back to prison if a beer can is thrown in your yard and a parole officer notices it? More prison time FOR A BEER CAN that isn’t even yours!
  • Even though NM law states that people who have finished their time behind the walls can regain the right to vote, it is rarely happening? Hear Justin’s recent experience of the struggle to regain his basic right to vote!

What can I do right now?  Support HB57 (introduced by Rep. Gail Chasey). This grassroots campaign for the “Right 2 Vote NM” will allow all New Mexicans over 18 years to vote – regardless of incarceration status. Isn’t the fundamental freedom of our constitution the right for our voices to be heard through voting? Isn’t voting the primary freedom of speech? If passed, NM will be the first state to reaffirm the rights of all citizens to vote.

Call/email your NM Legislators right now and ask them to support HB57 (Senate version coming soon!

Read more about criminal justice reform here:

Have you experienced “Surprise Medical Billing”? Your stories are needed!

Rep. Nathan Small has introduced SB 207, the Surprise Billing Protection Act to protect consumers from this unfair billing practice. If you have a story to tell please send it to in the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance who is in support of this bill.

Surprise medical billing occurs when an insured person is treated by an out-of-network provider that the patient had no role in choosing.  This occurs most frequently in medical emergencies or major surgery situations when an insured person is treated 1) at an in-network facility for a medical or behavioral  emergency and services are provided by ancillary out-of-network providers (surgeon, radiologist, anesthesiologist, pathologist) or 2) patient receives in-patient surgery by an out-of-network provider (physician or ancillary providers) without consent of insured person and is hospitalized  or 3) with elective inpatient admissions at in-network facilities.

These surprise bills can be quite large. Patients may receive bills from multiple providers. One study showed that ambulance rides were billed out-of-network roughly half of the time.

The goals of the bill are to:

1)    Limit the amount billed for out-of- network emergency room care to what the patient would owe an in-network provider,

2)    Limit the amount billed for major surgery costs provided by out-of-network providers to what the patient would owe an in-network provider,

3)    Advise emergency patients that they could run up excess charges if they are in an out-of- network hospital; obtain statement signed by patient that they have been told and understand

4)    Eliminate “Balance Billing” or the ability of a provider to bill a covered person for the difference between the provider’s billed charges and the amount allowed by the insurance plan.  Payment disputes would be resolved by physicians and insurance and not involve consumers.

* The New Mexican Patient Protection Act allows insurers to bill only what a patient would owe an in-network provider for out-of-network emergency care.

There have been other efforts to regulate health care plans to mitigate surprise billing, including a bill introduced in Congress in 2017 by now Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, “The Fair Billing Act of 2017.” Without federal legislation, states are stepping forward to regulate plans themselves.  Other considerations are to establish legislative guidelines for out-of-network providers to seek more payment from insurance carriers based on a formula set up by either state rules or through a federal formula.

PDACNM Newsletter, January 15, 2019

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After 8 years of incompetent and corrupt state government, New Mexicans can finally have hope that actual governing is going to take place and the news coming from the Roundhouse seems to affirm that hope. One of the largest concerns of New Mexicans is the depth of crime and poverty plaguing the state and it appears that our legislators (on both sides of the aisle) are recognizing the problems and addressing the crisis with bold and just legislation that will go a long way in turning our state around.  Please read the following article from the NM Political Report.

New direction, and infusion of money, seen for criminal justice system By Jeff Proctor, New Mexico In Depth

“There’s talk of a massive “omnibus” bill that would feature changes to New Mexico’s probation and parole systems, reparations for crime victims, the way law enforcement uses eyewitness testimony to seek convictions and several other laws.
Then there are the reforms that, in years past, have found support from both political parties but ultimately met the veto pen of Gov. Susana Martinez, a former prosecutor who for eight years stuck to her belief that New Mexico needed tougher penalties for lawbreakers, but largely stiff-armed proposals to address systemic injustices”

Read article here

Congratulations to Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez who has just been appointed to Senator McCorley’s senate seat.

PDACNM Newsletter December 31, 2018 – Change, Progress and Challenge in 2019

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President Obama’s Favorite Books, Movies and Music 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies, and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018 list – I hope you enjoy reading, watching, and listening.

Here’s a reminder of the books that I read this year that appeared on earlier lists:
Becoming by Michelle Obama (obviously my favorite!)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
Educated by Tara Westover
Factfulness by Hans Rosling
Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti
The Return by Hisham Matar
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen
The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

Continue reading PDACNM Newsletter December 31, 2018 – Change, Progress and Challenge in 2019