Kim Posich Memorial Celebration

Please join us to celebrate the life of Kim Posich at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. The memorial will be located in the courtyard of the museum. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Hosts: Gail Evans & Ruza Donohue

When: Friday, August 18th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Where: The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History 2000 Mountain Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM

 

Healthy Workforce ABQ Asks for Emergency Court Order to Prevent City from Using Illegal Ballot

Advocates Say Voters Deserve Fair Election on Earned Sick Days Question

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Late Thursday, advocates for the passage of an earned sick leave law in the City of Albuquerque filed an emergency motion in Second Judicial District Court to prevent the City Clerk from using an illegal ballot for the October 3 election.

The Albuquerque City Council decided in a July 10 meeting to print the full text of the Healthy Workforce Ordinance (HWO) on the official ballot without a summary, and the City Clerk intends to print it in 7-point font. Healthy Workforce ABQ, OLÉ, and Albuquerque residents ask the court to ensure Albuquerque voters have a fair election by ordering the use of a ballot that they can read and understand.

“The city is attempting to block Albuquerque voters’ right to enact direct legislation,” said Elizabeth Wagoner, an attorney on the case from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. “The city government insists on a ballot that is misleading and confusing. We are asking the court to protect the integrity of the 2017 election.”

The emergency motion argues that because the full text of the Healthy Workforce Ordinance will only fit on the ballot in an illegible and illegally-small font size — approximately 7-point font — the City Clerk should place a legible summary on the ballot and provide a legible, large-text copy of the full ordinance in each voting booth so that voters can read both documents. The city uses the same practice for bond questions.

According to federal voting systems guidelines adopted in Section 1-9-14 of the New Mexico Election Code, election ballots must be printed at a minimum of 8.5-point font or larger to ensure that voters with poor vision can read their ballots.

In their July meeting, the City Council also voted to include an advisory question on the ballot that uses partisan language to advocate against the HWO. The emergency motion argues that this is illegal because the City Charter and the New Mexico Constitution do not permit the Council to use a deceptive workaround to defeat a ballot initiative they do not like. The advocates are also asking the court to order that ballot question to be removed.

The emergency motion can be found here.

What You Can Do to Stop the ACA Repeal

While efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) briefly stalled last week, the Senate still plans to strip healthcare from millions of Americans and make disastrous cuts to Medicaid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to vote to move forward with repeal as early as TODAY!

This past Thursday, Senate Republicans released a revised version of their bill – the Better Care Reconciliation Act. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this revised version would still take away healthcare coverage from 22 million Americans, slash federal Medicaid funding, raise the price of private insurance, and gut consumer protections.

If that option wasn’t bad enough, the Senate is also considering another proposal that would repeal the ACA and delay the development of a replacement plan for two years. This would strip healthcare coverage from up to 32 million Americans, make even larger cuts to Medicaid funding, end financial assistance that helps make private insurance more affordable, and eliminate critical consumer protections.

Regardless of which plan is voted upon, the results would be devastating for New Mexico.

  • New Mexicans Will Lose Healthcare Coverage – Every proposal to this point would end Medicaid expansion, jeopardizing the healthcare coverage of over 260,000 New Mexicans.
  • Drastic Cuts to Medicaid Funding – The Senate plans cut federal Medicaid funding by $770-$840 billion over the next decade. This will force New Mexico to have to raise revenue just to maintain current Medicaid levels or cut eligibility and benefits.
  • Consumer Protections are Eliminated – States will be allowed to opt-out of covering “essential health benefits” (prescriptions, maternity and newborn care, and mental healthcare).

Please call and urge your networks to contact the Senators below and tell them to stop with their efforts to repeal the ACA.

• Senator Jeff Flake (AZ) – (202) 224-4521
• Senator John McCain (AZ) – (202) 224-2235
• Senator Cory Gardner (CO) – (202) 224-5941
• Senator Dean Heller (NV) – (202) 224-6244
• Senator Mike Lee (UT) – (202) 224-5444

Introducing our Summer 2017 Legal Interns

The New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty would like to recognize its two outstanding summer legal interns, Eduardo (Eddie) Garcia and Dawn Vernooy.

Eduardo Garcia

Eddie is a recipient of the Peggy Browning Fellowship for distinguished students who have excelled in law school and have demonstrated a commitment to workers’ rights through their educational, work, volunteer, and personal experiences.

Eddie is working under the supervision of the Workers’ Rights team focusing on an initiative to pass an Albuquerque earned sick leave ordinance, creating workers’ compensation outreach materials in Spanish and English for agricultural workers, and defending Albuquerque’s minimum wage ordinance.

A native of the Juárez, México- El Paso, Texas, Eddie was involved in community organizing and activism in the borderland. A witness to his parents struggle with minimum-wage and poor working conditions, he advocated for justice for farmworkers, day laborers, and retail and service industry workers.

Eddie will graduate from UNM School of Law in 2018.

Dawn Vernooy

Dawn Vernooy is the recipient of the Seth Montgomery Fellowship for exceptional law students working on poverty related issues at the Center.

Dawn is working under the supervision of the Workers’ Rights and Public Benefits teams focusing on initiatives to secure paid time off for sick workers and defending Albuquerque’s minimum wage ordinance as well as securing unobstructed access to Medicaid and food assistance. She has a deep personal connection to the work at the Center as a former food assistance and current Medicaid recipient.

A graduate of Albuquerque’s West Mesa High, Dawn holds a PhD in English and has spent over a decade in academia at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania focusing on women’s and workers’ rights. She currently serves on the Sexual Assault Nurses Examiners Collective board of directors.
Dawn will graduate from UNM School of Law in 2019.

HSD to Hold Public Hearing Tomorrow on Proposal to Increase Medicaid Co-Pays

Tomorrow at 9 a.m., New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) will hold a public hearing to gather comment on its proposal to increase co-pays for Medicaid patients. This proposal faced opposition from HSD’s own stakeholder group when proposed last year and still faces widespread opposition.

Over 20 groups and individuals have signed on with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty in comments submitted to HSD opposing the proposal, including the New Mexico Medical Society, New Mexico Academy of Family Physicians, New Mexico Pediatric Society, New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, and Parents Reaching Out among others. These groups assert that a wide body of research has shown that such fees decrease access to necessary medical care, shift costs to providers, and will have negative consequences for our healthcare system and state economy.

The aforementioned comments on the proposal can be found here.

What:   Public Comment Hearing

Who:     HSD

When:  Friday, July 14, 2017 at 9 a.m. MST

Where: Rio Grande Conference Room, Toney Anaya Building, 2550 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505