Sanctity of Human Life Awareness and Unity Day 2019, New Mexico State Capitol
On Saturday, at noon, the New Mexico Legislature adjourned “sine die,” concluding a Legislative Session unlike any other in recent memory. On the heels of the November “blue wave,” progressive legislators partnered with Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham to propose one of the most liberal agendas in state history. However, when the final gavel fell Saturday in both the House and the Senate, it became apparent that New Mexico was not quite ready to follow in the footsteps of California and become the next bastion for all things “progressive.” In fact, much of the progressive agenda faced harsh pushback from both the public and legislators on both sides of the aisle, leading to some unexpected victories and encouraging moments.
Today, we recap our “Top 5 Moments of the 2019 Legislative Session.”
- Radical Abortion Bill—House Bill 51—Defeated by the Senate. After passing the House of Representatives, the radical abortion bill, House Bill 51, was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 18-24. During the debate, Senator Gabriel Ramos (D) admonished the legislature for prioritizing the lives of coyotes, prairie dogs, and chickens over the lives of unborn children. When the final vote was tallied, 8 Democrats joined the 16 Senate Republicans to oppose the bill.
- Local Family Leads Effort to Pass “Simon’s Law.” In February, a local family from Albuquerque partnered with Representative Gregg Schmedes (R) to introduce legislation aimed at preventing doctors from instituting “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders on a child without parental/guardian knowledge. Seven-year-old, Twila, was born with a genetic condition, and unbeknownst to her parents, doctors at UNMH repeatedly placed a DNR order on Twila’s chart. Although this legislation was tabled by the Democrats in a House Committee, the opportunity to advocate on behalf of Twila and her family was a highlight of the entire Session.
- Assisted Suicide Bill–House Bill 90—Tabled in the House. After clearing two House Committees, House Bill 90, which would have legalized assisted suicide in the state, was tabled in the House due to a lack of support. When the bill was originally introduced, it was considered by many to be the most extreme assisted suicide legislation ever proposed in any state. In addition to lacking many “safeguards” found in other states, the bill would have allowed non-physicians, including physician assistants, to prescribe lethal medication—leading Representative Rod Montoya (R) to refer to the bill as “Physician Assistant Assisted Suicide.”
- Thousands of New Mexicans Rally for Life. According to many people, the public engagement during this Session was stronger than ever. Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico® was proud to participate in four pro-life events, including “Sanctity of Life Awareness and Unity Day,” “Pastors’ Day,” “A Prayer Vigil for Life,” and the final “Rally for Life.” Thousands of New Mexicans participated in these events and brought a spirit of prayer into a building that desperately needed it.
- Charter School Moratorium and Enrollment Cap Efforts Fail. In a victory for parental rights and school choice, efforts to halt the opening of new charter schools and cap charter school enrollment failed to advance.
The 2019 Legislative Session will not be soon forgotten, and these moments represent just a few of the highlights. Ultimately, we hope these victories help people of faith recognize that when we speak up and engage, we have the power to change outcomes and change our state. This Session was just the beginning and we believe much greater things lie ahead.
Thank you for your prayers and continued support!
The Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico Team