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.

2021 Legislative Priorities

Dear Friends,

In the midst of incredible challenges, what we fight for—healthcare, housing, income and food support, workers’ rights, and educational opportunities—has become even more urgent. As we enter into the thick of 2021 Legislative Session, the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty is collaborating with our community partners and policymakers on multiple bills to provide policy and legal expertise and advocacy.

  • Affordable healthcare
    New Mexicans need access to medical care without worrying if it will crush them financially. These four bills championed with our coalition NM Together for Healthcare, would generate revenue for affordable healthcare initiatives and decrease barriers for immigrants and patients without insurance.
  • Statewide paid sick leave
    About half of all workers in New Mexico lack paid sick leave. No one should have to choose between going to work sick, losing wages, or losing their jobs to care for themselves or a loved one. HB37 would ensure that employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
  • 36% rate cap
    Credit needs to be fair, safe, and equitable, but New Mexico’s interest rate cap of 175% APR is none of those things. We are urging our elected leaders to pass a meaningful interest rate cap of 36%, similar to a growing number of other states.
  • Transform education
    Along with our coalition Transform Education NM, we are fighting for multiple reforms that address long-standing inequities and insufficient resources in our education system as ordered in the Yazzie/Martinez court ruling.
  • Prevent evictions
    All New Mexicans need access to housing. With partnering attorneys and community-based organizations, we are advocating for far reaching legislation that would strengthen housing stability, reduce barriers to housing, and establish a statewide entity for housing policy.
  • Boost SNAP access and benefits
    Nothing is more fundamental to our well-being than food. Unfortunately in New Mexico, we have among the highest rates of hunger in the country. Along with several other groups, we are advocating for the state to seek all available SNAP waivers, including the ABAWD waiver, to protect New Mexicans from harsh requirements that prevent families from putting food on the table.

These efforts have been building through the important work of our community over the years and now is the time to get them passed. Keep an eye out for opportunities to get involved and stay up to date by following us on social media.

Sincerely,
Sireesha Manne

Action Alert: NM workers need paid sick leave!

Please call or email members of the committee TODAY and urge them 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. 

HB37 would ensure that employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. 

HB37 is scheduled to be heard tomorrow in the House Labor, Veterans’ and Military Affairs Committee. 

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 the Representative to support HB37 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 may also comment during the online hearing TOMORROW. Go to this Zoom link (passcode: 630659) and type your comments in via the “chat” function at the bottom of the screen. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2 pm.

Representatives’ contact information

  • Representative Eliseo Lee Alcon (Chair): (505) 986-4416; eliseo.alcon@nmlegis.gov
  • Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero (Vice Chair): (505) 986-4248; pat.roybalcaballero@nmlegis.gov
  • Representative Karen C. Bash: (505) 986-4210; karen.bash@nmlegis.gov
  • Representative Rachel A. Black: (505) 986-4467; rachel.black@nmlegis.gov
  • Representative Miguel P. Garcia: (505) 986-4844; miguel.garcia@nmlegis.gov
  • Representative Joshua Hernandez: joshua.hernandez@nmlegis.gov
  • Representative Angelica Rubio: (505) 986-4227; angelica.rubio@nmlegis.gov
  • Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton: (505) 986-4780; sheryl.stapleton@nmlegis.gov
  • Representative Luis M. Terrazas: luis.terrazas@nmlegis.gov

Media Advisory – Child Care Assistance public hearing on Wednesday

SANTA FE—The Early Childhood Education and Care Department will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 1:00 p.m on proposed regulations that would expand access to New Mexico’s Child Care Assistance program. If the proposed regulations pass as written, many costly and burdensome requirements for families applying for child care would be eliminated.

The proposed regulations would remove the requirement that force single parents to assign their rights to enforce child support to the state in order to get assistance. Other important changes that will increase access include:

  • Not counting certain income to determine if a family qualifies.
  • Allowing families to apply online.
  • Eliminating unnecessary mid-year phone calls with families.
  • Allowing graduate students to qualify for assistance.

You can find the full text of the proposed rules here: http://164.64.110.134/nmac/nmregister/xxxi/ECECDnotice_xxxi22.html

WHAT:
Hearing on proposed changes to Child Care Assistance

WHEN:
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.

WHO:
Early Childhood Education and Care Department
Supporters for expanding access to the child care assistance program, including OLE members and New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty staff.

WHERE:
To access the hearing by telephone call: 1-346-248-7799 and enter access code 9743902 4249. To access the hearing via the internet go to https://zoom.us/j/97439024249 and enter meeting code 974 3902 4249#.

Media and people who submitted public comments ahead of time can live stream the meeting here: https://fb.me/e/hV6VIGqNo

Action Alert: Support expanding access to Child Care Assistance!

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. The Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) has proposed rules that would make New Mexico’s Child Care Assistance Program accessible to more families.

You can help make these changes by submitting comments to ECECD supporting the changes.

The proposed rules would end ineffective and burdensome requirements that force single parents to assign child support enforcement rights to the state to qualify for child care assistance. The process is so burdensome and fruitless that most parents choose to simply forgo much needed childcare along with employment and work opportunities. Complying with child support enforcement rights can also be dangerous when the absent parent was abusive or antagonizes the custodial parent.

The regulations also make child care more accessible and affordable by:

  • Making it easier to qualify by not counting certain income;
  • Eliminating the requirement of applying in-person at a child care office;
  • Granting three months of benefits to families who are searching for work (Currently, families have to be employed or in school to qualify);
  • Extending eligibility to families pursuing education in graduate school.

Tell the ECECD that you support these positive changes to the Child Care Assistance program.

1) Speak out at the public hearing. Give public comment on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. The hearing will take place via internet and telephone due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. To access the hearing by telephone call: 1-346-248-7799 and enter access code 9743902 4249. To access the hearing via the internet go to https://zoom.us/j/97439024249 and enter meeting code 974 3902 4249#.

2) Submit written public comments. Submit written public comments no later than January 6, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. by email to ECECD-ECS-PublicComment@state.nm.us with the subject line “8.15.2 NMAC Public Comment.” You can also submit comments by first class mail to P.O. Drawer 5169, Santa Fe, NM 87502-5169, or hand delivered to the Old PERA building at 1120 Paseo de Peralta on January 6, 2021 from 1:00p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

3) What you might include in your written or oral comments:

a) Say you support the proposed regulations.

  • I support the proposed rules, because they will expand access to child care assistance and increase affordability of the program.

b) Explain why child care assistance is important to you or your community.

  • Working families need access to affordable childcare they can trust to ensure their children have a safe space to learn while the parents are working to further their education or participate in the workforce.
  • Every working parent should be able to access quality child care without worrying about sacrificing basic needs like food and rent.
  • We know that the earliest years in children’s lives are the most important in their development and lay the foundation for all that is to come. That is why it’s so important that all working families be able to access affordable childcare that they can trust.

c) Explain how the proposed regulations will impact you or your community.

  • Child support requirements are burdensome to administer, have few benefits for families and put domestic violence survivors in danger. Other states have eliminated these requirements.
  • Child care is unaffordable for low income families, because the program has high copays. The federal government recommends that families pay no more than 7% of their income on child care so that is affordable. New Mexico should eliminate co-pays for families below 100% of the federal poverty level and make them affordable for other families.
  • It will be easier to find a job if childcare is available when families are looking for work.
  • Eliminating the requirement to submit applications in-person will lower burdens on applicants and increases child care accessibility.

You can find the full text of the proposed rules here: http://164.64.110.134/nmac/nmregister/xxxi/ECECDnotice_xxxi22.html

Yazzie plaintiffs ask court to order state to provide students computers and internet access

SANTA FE—Yazzie plaintiffs in the landmark Yazzie/Martinez education lawsuit asked the First Judicial District Court today to order the State of New Mexico to provide computers and high-speed internet access to the thousands of “at-risk” students who lack these necessary tools for remote learning. 

“Many children in New Mexico, especially those in rural districts and districts serving predominantly Native American students, don’t have computers or high-speed internet access and have been effectively denied access to public education since the pandemic started, worsening existing education inequities,” said Melissa Candelaria, a senior attorney at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, which represents the Yazzie plaintiffs.

In 2018, in the Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico lawsuit, the court ordered the state to provide a sufficient education to all public school students.

The state was required to immediately direct resources to remedy the failures in its education system, because the court recognized students—especially Native students, English language learners, students from low-income families, and students with disabilities—would be irreparably harmed if the state did not act swiftly. 

The court noted that access to technology, including computers and related infrastructure, is essential to a sufficient education.  

An estimated 23 percent of the New Mexico population lacks broadband internet service. An estimated 80 percent of Native Americans living on tribal lands in New Mexico do not have internet services at all. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of access has been catastrophic for far too many New Mexican families because of the state’s failure to address the technology gaps,”  said Alisa Diehl, a senior attorney with the Center. “The state has to be accountable to New Mexico’s students and families and make access to their education a priority.”

Diehl continued, “Had the state complied with the 2018 court order, many more students would be able to access remote learning right now. Unfortunately, the state has spent its time and resources trying to dismiss the lawsuit. Nine months into the pandemic, too many students have received little to no education at all. This is utterly unacceptable. The state needs to take action immediately to make sure New Mexico’s students get the education they need and deserve.”

The motion can be found here: http://nmpovertylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Yazzie-Tech-Motion-With-Exhibits-1-6-Final.2020-12-15.pdf

The final ruling in the lawsuit can be found here: http://nmpovertylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/D-101-CV-2014-00793-Final-Judgment-and-Order-NCJ-1.pdf

Attorneys for the Yazzie plaintiffs include Melissa Candelaria, Alisa Diehl of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, Preston Sanchez of ACLU-NM, and Dan Yohalem.

#GivingTuesday

We invite you to join the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty on Tuesday, December 1st as we kick off our annual campaign and celebrate New Mexico’s bright future. #GivingTuesday is a movement that inspires millions of people around the world to give, volunteer, and celebrate generosity. Join us in our fight for healthcare, economic and racial justice, and educational opportunities.

Click HERE to make a secure online donation

Don’t miss this chance to double the impact of your donation! Starting on #GivingTuesday and throughout the month of December, the first $5,500 in contributions to NMCLP will be matched, dollar for dollar, by our generous sponsors: 

Thank you to our sponsors for their support!

Please mark your calendars now to join the #GivingTuesday movement and make your contribution to the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty on December 1st.

Follow our #GivingTuesday progress on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

MEDIA ADVISORY Virtual rally on Albuquerque paid time off bill tomorrow

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—New Mexico State Legislators will join community organizations and allies to discuss Albuquerque’s proposed paid time off bill introduced by Albuquerque City Councilors Lan Sena and Pat Davis. Workers will share why having paid time off is crucial for their health and safety and the health of their families. Legislators will discuss the importance of paid sick leave and paid time off for hardworking families in New Mexico.

WHAT:      
Albuquerque Paid Time Off Virtual Rally

WHO:        
Supporters for Albuquerque Paid Time
City Councilor Lan Sena 
Senator Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez
Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino
Senator Andrés Romero
Representative Angelica Rubio
Representative Christine Trujillo
Representative Liz Thomson.

WHEN:      
Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:     
https://www.facebook.com/events/2801231766788399/

The rally was organized by Center for Civic Policy, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, Enlace Comunitario, New Mexico Center on Law & Poverty, New Mexico Working Families Party, New Mexico Voices for Children, and OLÉ.