PDACNM IS MOVING TO A NEW LOCATION IN MAY, 2019
Our community gatherings will be held at First Congregational United Church of Christ at 2801 Lomas Blvd. NE beginning May 8.
The UCC is a Sanctuary Church which means the church is housing and protecting a person under threat of deportation. Therefore there are some simple security measures as you enter the church. There will be a PDA member at the door to assist your entrance.
Please join us in our new space with new and familiar faces; compelling presentations; passionate activism; and as always, The Raging Grannies.
At this critical juncture, so much depends on which direction the Democratic Party takes. We PDAers are doing our level best to bring about needed change and we saw some beautiful results of that activism in the 2018 midterms. If you haven’t already done so, you’re now invited to amplify your PDA efforts by joining the Adelante Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
Adelante provides an umbrella under which progressives of all stripes can work together towards restoring the Democratic Party to its rightful mission as a champion of the people as vs. a party that kowtows to corporate power and compromises the farm away in the name of pragmatism, counting on the fact that the other party is so much worse, people will have no choice but to vote Democratic–a cynical and witless calculation that backfired bigtime in 2016.
As progressives our most urgent challenge is to midwife a historic transformation of our party from the grassroots up. If we are to save our democracy from the forces that threaten to turn it into an empty charade, this must be accomplished in the near future. In committing to the NM progressive family that comes together under Adelante, you will strengthen our collective voice within the party and help our people get a seat at the table where choices are made and power is exercised.
In New Mexico we also have the chance to make our state party a shining example to other states across the country where the same struggle is going on in anticipation of the fateful 2020 elections.
Please consider climbing aboard the good ship Adelante NOW:
Together we rise, and together we will make this a better country to live in.
With all hands on deck, we will turn this thing around.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR RIGHT AS A CITIZEN
Would you like to join PDACNM for some citizen advocacy with the staff of your US senator or representative? Every month PDACNM sits down with these friendly folks to express concerns, show support, share information and create lasting relationships. We bring a letter each month from PDA national asking for support for specific legislation or to express our thanks for their support. These letters are delivered by PDA chapters throughout the country. We welcome your participation. Let us know if you can join us. Lisa Franzen at firstname.lastname@example.org; Laura Stokes at email@example.com, Paul Stokes at firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t need to tell you that the future of our country hangs in the balance. What we do as progressives in the Democratic Party could make all the difference about which way it goes, not only for America but also for the planet. We are challenged to bring the party back to its seminal role as a local, state, and national force that is willing to fight the good fight that must be fought to create a just and livable society.
A crucial part of that challenge is finding a way to convey our progressive message to the wide sweep of voters out there who are looking for something to believe in amid all the misleading and manipulative messaging that pollutes the public square. This means expressing our core values in down home, deeply felt words. We need to shape a narrative that cuts through the political noise to what resonates with the lived experience of our American family. We must meld what reason tells us into what our hearts know in such a way as to speak directly to our compatriots.
In other words, it’s up to us to win the trust of those who will decide which way upcoming elections go, and to do that in good faith.
In a recent PBS show, documentarian Ken Burns observed that “the best arguments in the world won’t change a single mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.” He went on to add, “In really difficult times when the tapestry has frayed, it’s important to remember that we share some common stories.”
If he’s right–and I feel he is–what is the authentic, all-embracing story we want to tell ?
My own part of the story is rooted in the history of my people, a history that includes my paternal grandparents being wiped out by the Dust Bowl, barely surviving the Great Depression, moving to New Mexico to prospect for gold in the Ortiz Mountains (where they found none to speak of), building houses to sell in Albuquerque and making modest real estate investments by virtue of which they were able to attain middle class prosperity in late middle age. Long before that happy outcome my father was the first in his family to go to college. As he worked his way through UNM to become of all things a physicist, he owned only one pair of shabby shoes to wear everywhere, even to church–high top black and white basketball sneakers. He could I suppose be held up as a poster child of the American dream come true. However, given the hidden legacy of his and other family sagas, I can’t help but have a strong sense of what it’s like to be down under in a culture that above all else values people in terms of financial status
Growing up, even though they never talked about it, I felt that my family carried the weight of the shame they’d experienced during the Depression and for a long time afterwards. Perhaps the hardest thing to bear about being a “loser” in America is feeling shamed by one’s failure to manifest a better destiny. As the 1% continue to rig the system at the expense of everyone else, more and more of us fall into desperate straits and see ourselves as losers. So I feel that our progressive narrative needs to unshame the shamed and empower all of us to reclaim our birthright as human beings. It needs to put forth a new American dream that is less about individual success in an all pervasive competition that pits us against one another and more about living in supportive community, sharing resources, and honoring the worth and dignity of every person. Along with that, it needs to identify the source of what ails us, as Bernie so ably did by talking about how our economic system works against the 99% to further enrich the billionaire class who control the levers of power.
To make our story work in the media world, it needs also to be condensable into a few galvanizing words that encapsulate its essence and invoke its scope. This usually goes by the unfortunate name “branding,” which implies using commercial advertising techniques to sell a product. We are called to do better than that. We are called to put on our poet hats and come up with pithy, powerful slogans that are grounded in human truth and a passion for justice. I think of well worn lines like “people before profits” and “we shall overcome.” Off the top of my head, this comes to me: “Awake and aware, together we take back our world.” But that has too many words in it. Perhaps “Make America Ours Again” would do better ~ ?
Can you think of a succinct motivating line that befits this critical juncture?
In closing, I invite you to share your thoughts about what our common story is and how we can most effectively convey it. To join the conversation, take this link to the Adelante blog.
PDACNM MONTHLY MEETING IS MOVING TO A NEW LOCATION IN MAY, 2019
Beginning May 8, 2019 we will be meeting at the First Congregational Church, 2801 Lomas NE.
Same time, same familiar faces and hopefully some new ones and always the Raging Grannies.
The only thing missing will be the snacks. UNLESS there is a wonderful volunteer out there who would enjoy organizing a snack committee. We can provide all the washable plates and cutlery if someone is willing to do the organizing.
I want to begin by giving a huge thank you to everyone for all your email and phone messages urging our legislators to support legislation of importance to the progressive community. It is heartening to receive feedback from legislators agreeing with our sentiments. Sure, there were the occasional responses disagreeing with our requests, but that just added evidence that they hear us and know that they have to deal with us.
There was a boatload of progressive legislation this year, as was expected because of the increase in number of progressive legislators. We ended up following about one hundred bills, memorials, and joint resolutions. About 60 of those were scheduled for committee hearings, and you emailed or called committee members about them. Because of the progressive trend in the Legislature and the support of the governor’s office, much of the legislation of importance to us passed. There were exceptions, often caused by conservative Democrats joining with Republicans to defeat good bills.
Both the good and the bad are discussed below:
- This legislature was finally able to pass a bill for a State Ethics Commission (SB 668). This bi- or multi-partisan commission receives and investigates complaints against public officials and employees, government contractors and lobbyists.
- Renewable energy, climate crisis:
- SB 489, the Energy Transition Act, passed. It includes strong Renewable Portfolio Standards with a target of, among other things, zero carbon dioxide emissions from retail sales of electricity by 2045. A disappointment was that this Act also included a provision for the costs of abandoning the current, fossil fueled generating plants to be borne solely by the public, rather than sharing those costs by the public and by the shareholders of the plant owners.
- SB 518, New Solar Market Development Tax Credit, passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, had passed its last committee in the House, but never got a vote on the House floor. Another casualty of more bills to consider than time to hear them for a floor vote.
- HB 210, Community Solar Act, passed the House but didn’t make it through the Senate committee process in time to be heard on the Senate floor. This bill would have established requirements for community solar systems that subscribers could use to meet their energy needs. A community solar system would supply its power to the public utility serving the area, which would bill subscribers at rates determined by the Public Regulation Commission.
- Health care:
- HB 416 and SB 405, Medicaid Buy-In, to allow members of the public to participate in Medicaid by paying the costs, was tabled in House Appropriations while the Senate worked on the budget. There is $142,000 in the budget for the “study and administrative development of the Medicaid Buy-In plan.” This allows HSD to prepare to implement the Medicaid Buy-In, including seeking federal waivers to receive federal financing.
- HB 308, Dental Therapists, passed.
- SB 337, Surprise Billing Protection Act, passed unanimously.
- HB 436, Align Health Insurance Law with Federal Law, passed. This bill amends sections of the NM law governing Insurance plans to include many of the provisions of the ACA, such as prohibiting denial of coverage of pre-existing conditions, prohibiting charging higher premiums for disability, and eliminating co-pays for preventive services.
- HB 88 and SB 101 to establish a Health Care Value and Access Commission did not progress in the respective committees, but money was allocated in the budget to work towards the goals of these bills:
- Health Care Value and Access Commission: $275,000 to set up a commission that will review and make recommendations on the ways health care is currently being provided in New Mexico.
- All Payers Database: $900,000 to set up a much needed statewide database to track, in accordance with privacy laws, medical procedure usage rates, cost, outcomes and more to give the state data that it currently does not have and needs to better support positive health care outcomes.
- SB 279 and HB 295, Health Security Act, also died in both House and Senate committees. HM 92, Health Security Plan Analysis, passed the House and there is $389,000 in the budget for Legislative Finance to complete a fiscal analysis of the Health Security Act, which is the first step needed before implementing the Act.
- Permanent funds for early childhood: HJR 1 passed the House, but died in the Senate Finance Committee. A replacement, SB 671, backed by the governor, also died in the Senate Finance Committee.
- Voting rights:
- SB 672, Early & Auto Voter Registration, passed. It combined earlier bills HB 84 and HB 86 to provide for voter registration at early voting sites, at polling places on election day, and to provide for automatic voter registration at Motor Vehicle Department offices as well as some other offices subject to negotiation.
- HB 57, Restore Felon Voting rights, died in committee.
- HB 55, National Popular Vote, passed. This bill commits New Mexico to join a compact of states that agree to assign their electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote, whether or not the state itself voted for the winner of the national popular vote.
- Increasing minimum wage: Several bills with differing increases in the minimum wage failed, but were replaced by SB 437, Raise Minimum Wage & Create Separate One, and was passed. This bill, as introduced, would have raised the minimum wage to 11 dollars per hour by 2022. It was amended to raise it to 12 dollars per hour by 2022, and to cost of living increases thereafter. The bill also provides for a minimum wage of $8.50 for students in secondary schools working outside of school hours.
- Increasing salaries of state employees: A section of HB 2, General Appropriation Action of 2019, increases the salaries of state employees by an average of 4 percent, except that the salaries for teachers are increased by at least 6%. HB 2 passed.
- Reducing small loan interest rates to 36%: HB 22, HB 375, and HB 386 were either not scheduled for hearing or died in committee.
- Right to work laws: HB 85, Union Security Agreements, passed. This bill precludes local governments from adopting or continuing in effect laws that prohibit agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment; i.e., this bill prohibits local governments from establishing so-called right to work laws.
- Raising income taxes for high earners: HB 6, Tax Changes, includes a provision to increase the rates for high earners. For example, married couples filing joint returns will pay income taxes at a rate of 5.9% for earnings in excess of $315,000. HB 6 passed.
- Background checks for firearm sales: SB 8, Firearm Sale Background Check, passed and was signed by the governor.
- Decriminalizing abortion: HB 51, Decriminalize Abortion, passed the House but failed in the Senate.
- Gender equality: SB 25, No Differential Pricing Based On Gender, passed.
- Decriminalizing recreational use of marijuana: HB 356, Cannabis Regulation Act, passed the House, but died in the Senate Finance Committee.
- Hemp: HB 581, Hemp Manufacturing Act, passed. This bill allows and regulates production, testing, research, and manufacturing of hemp products.
- Healthy soil act: HB 204 passed.
- Public banking: HM 41, Study State-Owned Bank, passed its only scheduled committee hearing, but was not considered on the House floor.
- School ratings: SB 229, School Support & Accountability Act, passed. This bill repeals the A-B-C-D-F schools rating act, to be replaced by criteria developed by the Legislative Education Study Committee.
If you want to check the status of other bills of interest, or to see if the governor has signed bills, go here.
Until next year,