ACTION ALERT: We need your help to get the Healthy Food Financing Act Heard!

Every New Mexican should have access to healthy foods.

SB 229, the Healthy Food Financing Act, would provide loans and grants to small food businesses to increase access to local, healthy foods in both rural and urban areas of our state. The bill will bring federal money into New Mexico for economic development and investment in community-led solutions to hunger, while supporting local farmers and improving health outcomes for New Mexico’s families.  

We need your help to get the Healthy Food Financing Heard! The Healthy Food Financing Act still needs to pass the House floor to make it to the Governor’s desk. Please contact House leadership TODAY to urge them to hear and pass SB 229.

Please personalize your message with your unique perspective and experience. Here is an example of what you might write or say. Representative ____, I’m asking you to support SB 229, the Healthy Food Financing Act and bring it to a vote on the House floor. This bill will fight hunger in New Mexico and help our economic recovery. SB 229 invests in community-led solutions to hunger and brings federal funding into our state to support local farmers & food businesses.

House Leadership

ACTION ALERT: An important housing bill still needs to be heard by a Senate committee before it can cross the finish line.

House Bill 111 would expand eviction time frames and allow renters additional time to access the millions of dollars in federal rental assistance money that must be spent by the end of the year. New Mexico can’t afford to leave this money on the table! 

This is the last week of the session. The bill has already been passed by the House with strong support from the New Mexico Apartment Association. 

We need your help to get  this bill scheduled and heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee! Please call and email members of the committee and Majority Floor Leader Sen. Peter Wirth TODAY and ask them to schedule HB 111!

New Mexico was already in a housing crisis before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless we take action now, there will be a tidal wave of evictions as soon as the public health emergency ends, threatening our health and economic recovery as a state. 

New Mexico has some of the shortest eviction time frames in the U.S. —often too short to access rental assistance, resulting in tenants being evicted and landlords losing income even when rental relief is available. 

Majority Floor Leader

Senate Judiciary Committee

Action Alert: All New Mexicans deserve access to fair loans!

Senate Bill 66 would require a 36% APR cap in New Mexico to ensure that New Mexicans have access to fair and affordable loans. The House Judiciary Committee will hear the bill MONDAY, March 15 at 11:30.

We need your help to keep up the momentum on SB 66. Please call or email members of the committee TODAY and urge them to support a 36% cap on storefront loans.

Right now, New Mexico has one of the highest interest rate caps in the country. Lenders across the state are making loans with annual interest rates of 175% APR. A family who borrows a storefront loan for just a few hundred dollars will end up paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars in interest and fees.  

You might share a personal story with legislators about why no one should be allowed to charge triple-digit interest rates. You might also share why you support the bill. For example: “I urge the Representative to support SB 66 for a 36% cap on storefront loans. No one should have to choose between paying their rent and making payments on a triple-digit loan. New Mexicans deserve access to fair and responsible credit.” 

Contact information for the Representatives is below.

House Judiciary Committee

ACTION ALERT: Support language access for state services!

All New Mexicans deserve equal access to state services, regardless of the language they speak.

New Mexico is home to thousands of people that primarily speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Diné and other languages. Despite being required by law, many agencies do not provide information and services in languages New Mexicans understand. Lack of language services has delayed or prevented New Mexicans from applying for unemployment insurance, food assistance, and Medicaid prior to and during the pandemic and deepened economic and health disparities in our communities. 

Senate Bill 368 will increase resources and services in languages other than English, ensuring that more New Mexicans can access state services. The bill will be heard in the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee FRIDAY a half hour after the Senate floor session. 

We need your help to get it passed! Please submit written comments today or sign up to speak and comment in the committee hearing.

You can share a personal story in your email about why state agencies should provide interpretation or translation. You can also say something like this: “I urge senators to support SB 368. All New Mexicans should have access to state services. Coordinating and planning language services is a common sense step to address health and economic inequities in our state services.”

Instructions on how to submit written comments and make public comments at the hearing are below. 

Bill summary

SB 368: Language Access Analysis, Plan, and Annual Report will increase language access by requiring state agencies to: 

  • Assess the number of New Mexicans they serve that primarily speak a language other than English and determine the resources needed to ensure meaningful access to services, like public benefits and unemployment insurance.
  • Develop and implement an annual plan to provide meaningful access to state programs for individuals who primarily speak languages other than English. 
  • Submit the annual report to the governor and the legislative finance committee.

Written comment instructions

  • Submit to SPAC@nmlegis.gov 
  • Written comments should be 300 words or less. 

Public comment (during hearing) instructions

When: 30 minutes after Senate floor session on Friday, March 12

Sign up to make public comment via this form:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd6DQLFUzJjhBKz16R2F1jHrXTZN68hQ3_dMl0JAlGgl0kFzQ/viewform

You will be contacted by the committee’s Zoom operator who will give you instructions on how to access the public comment portion by Zoom.

What to expect during the hearing: The committee will be taking public comment. The chair of the committee will announce the bill and ask who supports SB 368. At that time, to provide a comment use the Zoom reaction button and raise your hand. The Chair will call your name and unmute your zoom when it is your turn to speak.

Tips 

  • Keep your remarks brief and to the point.
  • If you have a personal story about how state agencies’ lack of interpretation or translation services has impacted you or your family, please share it.
  • Close the Legislature’s webcast page when you give your comment so there is not an echo during your remarks.
  • Make sure you are not muted when you start speaking.
  • Do not rely on your computer or phone for notes. Write them down or print them in case your computer screen freezes.
  • Close other tabs and windows in your browser to make sure your connection is good.
  • If your connection or microphone doesn’t work, be prepared to call in with the information above.

Pursuing child support no longer required to qualify for child care assistance

Barriers finally removed after years of advocacy

ALBUQUERQUE—Many more families now qualify for New Mexico’s Child Care Assistance Program after the elimination of multiple unnecessary eligibility requirements. The program provides help with the costs of child care for parents and guardians who are working or in school. The Early Childhood Education and Care Department released the new rules, which became effective yesterday, after workers and worker’s rights groups lobbied New Mexico agencies for years to eliminate barriers to the program. 

Notably, the new rules no longer force parents to pursue child support from the child’s other parent in order to qualify for assistance. Most parents, faced with fruitlessly antagonizing coparents—who sometimes were their former abusers—choose to simply forgo much needed childcare along with employment and work opportunities. 

Twenty-seven states, including Arizona, have already eliminated this requirement because it is burdensome for families, costly to administer, and is not in the best interests of the parent and child.

 “I am happy to see the Early Childhood Education and Care Department take concerns of New Mexico parents so seriously,” said Karina Pizaro who is a member of OLÉ. “These regulation changes mean that so many more families are going to be able to apply for childcare and not be left with the extra struggles on top of having to take care of their family.”

Other changes to New Mexico’s Child Care Assistance Program that make child care assistance more accessible include:

  • Parents can now submit applications electronically instead of only in-person. 
  • Other forms of assistance, like TANF, child support, and unemployment no longer count as income in the application.
  • Graduate school now satisfies the education requirement. 
  • Waiving copays during health emergencies.
  • Parents already participating in the program can now communicate changes in child care needs to ECECD by phone. 
  • Parents will no longer be subject to a mid-year recertification process or investigated for overpayment unless there is substantiated fraud.

“Before the pandemic, I would have to take time off of work to go in person to the office to apply for childcare assistance, go back multiple times if I was missing paperwork, and lose wages in the process. It’s amazing that families can apply for childcare assistance safely without having to expose their family to potential Covid-19 risks and without the potential of losing wages, “ said Karina Pizarro, parent and child care teacher with OLÉ.

“One of the best ways to help hard-working parents keep their jobs and stay in school is by providing help with the exorbitant costs of child care,” said Tim Davis with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. “ECECD’s new rules make it possible for more low-income parents to work or go to school while providing their children with a safe place to learn and grow. We hope other state agencies will follow its example and take a look at how they can remove barriers to participation.  We thank Secretary Groginsky for her leadership and collaborative efforts with the community.”

Virtual Rally on State Paid Sick Leave

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Join workers, community members, union members and allies for a virtual rally with State Legislators on March 2 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss why hard working New Mexicans need earned paid sick leave.

Únete a trabajadores, miembros de la comunidad y aliados en un mitin virtual con legisladores estatales este 2 de marzo a las 6:30 de la tarde. Para hablar sobre la importancia de que los trabajadores en Nuevo México tengan días de enfermedad pagados.

The rally will focus on HB 20 Healthy Workplaces Act, which when passed, would allow workers statewide to earn paid sick leave to care for themselves and their loved ones when sick.

Hablaremos sobre la propuesta HB 20, la Ley de Lugares de Trabajo Saludables, que, de ser aprobada, permitirá que los trabajadores en todo el estado tengan derecho a días de enfermedad pagados que podrán usar cuando se enfermen o para cuidar de sus seres queridos enfermos.

Habrá interpretación al español

WHAT:       Paid Sick Leave Virtual Rally

Register at https://www.mobilize.us/nm-wfp/event/376576/ 

WHO:        

  • Frontline workers who need paid sick leave
  • Public health leaders
  • AARP
  • State Legislators 

WHEN:      Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: The rally will be live streamed on Facebook in Spanish on the @ElCentrodeIgualdadyDerechos page and in English on the @NMWFP and @OLENewmexico pages

The rally was organized by Center for Civic Policy, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, New Mexico Center on Law & Poverty, New Mexico Working Families Party, New Mexico Voices for Children, OLÉ, Somos Un Pueblo Unido and United Food and Commercial Workers.  

Action Alert: Tell the Governor that NM workers need paid sick leave!

Please call the Governor by Friday and urge her to support paid sick leave!

About half of all workers in New Mexico lack paid sick leave. They have to either go to work sick or lose wages or risk losing their jobs to care for themselves or a loved one. 

HB 20 is being heard today in its final House committee before it moves to the House floor. 

The Governor has stated that paid sick leave might be premature this year. We know New Mexicans need paid sick leave now, especially during a pandemic!

You could share a personal story about why you and other workers need paid time off when you are sick. You could also say or write something like this: “I urge Governor Lujan Grishamto support HB20 for paid sick leave. No one should have to choose between their health and their paycheck, but for the roughly half of all New Mexico workers who lack paid sick leave, this is the reality.”

You can leave her a message via this form: https://secure.everyaction.com/LRhT0gD3g0q0_9f90xoM2Q2

After you fill it out, her office will immediately call you back and ask you to leave a message. It is an automated call and not a live person on the phone.

Action Alert: Support legislation to strengthen housing stability in NM!

All New Mexicans need access to housing

On Monday at 1:30 p.m., the Legislature’s House Judiciary Committee will consider House Bill 111, which would modernize our housing laws to strengthen housing stability, reduce barriers to housing, and establish a statewide entity for housing policy.

We need your help to provide public comment at the hearing in support of this bill!

New Mexico was already in a housing crisis before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless we take action now, there will be a tidal wave of evictions as soon as the public health emergency ends, threatening our health and economic recovery as a state.

New Mexico has some of the shortest eviction time frames in the U.S.—often too short to access rental assistance, resulting in tenants being evicted and landlords losing income even when rental relief is available. Other tenants face discrimination or even eviction when landlords reject rental assistance or other lawful sources of income used to pay rent.

HB 111 would stop this discrimination and expand the eviction timeframes to allow tenants to get caught up on their rent and stay in their homes.

Instructions:

When: 1:30 p.m., Monday, February 15

How to join: Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89543370073 Or iPhone one-tap : US: +16699009128,,89543370073# or +12532158782,,89543370073# Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 Webinar ID: 895 4337 0073

What to expect during the hearing: The committee will be taking public comment. The chair of the committee (Gail Chasey) will announce the bill and ask who supports HB 111. At that time, to provide a comment use the Zoom reaction button and raise your hand. The Chair will call your name and unmute your zoom when it is your turn to speak.

HB 111 summary: http://nmpovertylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Factsheet-2.pdf
House Bill 111 modernizes the New Mexico housing code by: 1) improving the balance between the rights of landlords and the rights of tenants, so families who can pay rent and comply with their lease are not evicted, 2) reducing barriers to housing for New Mexicans using housing vouchers and other lawful sources of income such as social security income to pay rent, and 3) creating a statewide housing council to address housing policy and coordinate state resources directed to addressing housing in New Mexico.

Tips for public comment:

  • Keep your remarks brief and to the point. 
  • If you have a personal story about being unable to access housing because you pay rent with a voucher or other source of income that doesn’t come from a job, or you have a personal story about being evicted because you were temporarily behind on rent, please share it.
  • When you login to Zoom, please rename yourself with your full name so the moderator can find you easily.
  • Make sure you are not muted when you start speaking.
  • Do not rely on your computer or phone for notes. Write them down or print them, just in case your computer screen freezes.
  • Close other tabs and windows in your browser to make sure your connection is good.
  • If your connection or microphone doesn’t work, be prepared to call in with the information above.

All New Mexicans deserve access to fair loans.

With your support, Senate Bill 66 passed the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee! The bill would require an all-inclusive 36% APR cap in New Mexico. We need your help to get it through the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

New Mexico has one of the highest interest rate caps in the country. Lenders across the state are making loans with annual interest rates of 175% APR. A family who borrows a storefront loan for just a few hundred dollars will end up paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars in interest and fees.

It’s time for New Mexico to have a 36% APR cap to ensure all New Mexicans have access to fair and affordable loans. Please call or email members of the committee TODAY and urge them to support an all-inclusive 36% cap.

You might share a personal story with legislators about why no one should be allowed to charge triple-digit interest rates. You might also share why you support the bill. For example: “I urge the Senator to support SB 66 for an all-inclusive 36% cap on storefront loans. No one should have to choose between paying their rent and making payments on a triple-digit loan. All New Mexicans deserve access to fair and responsible credit.”

You may also comment during the online hearing MONDAY at 1:30 p.m. To comment, send an email to SJC@nmlegis.gov with your name, whether you are in support or against, and whether you would like to give public comment by Sunday, February 14 at 5:00 p.m. If you wish to provide written comments, keep them to 300 words or less. You will be contacted by the Zoom Operator with the virtual meeting instructions.

Contact information for the senators is below.

Sincerely,
Lindsay Cutler

Senate Judiciary Committee

  • Senator Joseph Cervantes (Chair): (505) 397-8820; joseph.cervantes@nmlegis.gov
  • Senator Bill O’Neill (Vice Chair): (505) 397-8838; oneillsd13@billoneillfornm.com
  • Senator Cliff Pirtle: (505) 986-4369; cliff.pirtle@nmlegis.gov
  • Senator Gregory A. Baca: (505) 986-4877; greg.baca@nmlegis.gov
  • Senator Katy Duhigg (co-sponsor of SB 66): (505) 397-8823; katy.duhigg@nmlegis.gov
  • Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto: (505) 397-8830; daniel.ivey-soto@nmlegis.gov
  • Senator Linda Lopez: (505) 397-8833; linda.lopez@nmlegis.gov
  • Senator Mark Moores: (505) 986-4856; mark.moores@nmlegis.gov
  • Senator Mimi Stewart: (505) 397-8853; mimi.stewart@nmlegis.gov

Summer Law Clerkship

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (NMCLP) Summer Law Clerkship is a paid 10-week,  full-time summer position working to advance economic and social justice for an outstanding first or second-year law student. The Law Clerk will receive a $6,000 stipend and will work closely with  NMCLP attorneys in one or more of our areas of work doing legal research, drafting pleadings and  advocacy materials, and performing issue analysis, investigation, and outreach to partner  organizations and community members. The NMCLP Law Clerk will work with one or more of the  teams: Healthcare, Public Benefits, Education, Economic Equity. Please visit our website for more  information about our work at www.nmpovertylaw.org. 

Application Deadline: March 1, 2021 

To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, short writing sample, and law school transcript to  Felipe Guevara at contact@nmpovertylaw.org. Enter in the Subject Heading: “NMCLP Summer Law  Clerkship”. If you have a particular interest in one of the areas listed above, let us know about it in  your cover letter.