TWU at the Roundhouse: How You Can Help
At Tewa Women United, we deeply value our community partners and collaborate with them in many ways. Since the January 15th start of the 2019 New Mexico Legislative session, we’ve been working with these partners on a number of important bills related to our mission and that will benefit our communities.
Here are some of the bills we’re watching and actively working on, and how you can become engaged in the process.
HB 51: Decriminalize Abortion
HB 51 would repeal a 1969 anti-abortion law that makes it a crime for an abortion provider to end a woman’s pregnancy, except in certain circumstances. The law has been largely unenforceable since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. However, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, this bill would protect NM health care providers and keep abortion safe and legal in our state.
Our Indigenous Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice program manager Jessica Lujan has been working with a coalition of community groups to advocate and testify about the need to pass this bill.
Last week the proposal passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee by a 3 – 2 vote (our coalition packed the room with supporters) and next needs to clear the House Judiciary Committee before reaching the House floor.
What you can do:
- Contact your legislator to ask for their support for HB 51
- Attend the “Respect NM Women” Lobby Day at the Roundhouse on Friday, Feb 14. Sign up and receive more information here.
- Post about HB 51 on social media and use the hashtags #KeepAbortionSafeAndLegal and #RespectNMWomen
SB 374: Local Choice Energy Act
Local Choice Energy empowers community decision making regarding energy choices. When people are in charge, they choose renewables and they choose to reinvest locally generated funds back into their community. The Local Choice Energy Act will allow any local community in New Mexico to pool their electricity demand and become energy choice providers. Through this legislation, municipalities, counties, and sovereign Native American tribes will be able to secure electricity based on that local community’s values.
SB-374 is sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn (Dist. 36) and Senator Benny Shendo Jr. (Dist. 22) and backed by our friends at New Energy Economy. Elder Kathy Sanchez and Beata Tsosie-Peña of our Environmental Health and Justice Program have been working in support of this legislation, along with our friends at New Energy Economy.
What you can do:
- Learn more about the bill here
- The first hearing for the Local Choice Energy Act will be before the Senate Conservation Committee. Contact members of this committee to encourage them to support SB 374.
HB 210: Community Solar Act
The Community Solar Act would enable sovereign Native American tribes, municipalities, and businesses to build the solar facilities, and the utility companies will transmit it on the grid. The bill will enable utility customers who are renters, who do not have suitable locations, or are prevented from installing rooftop solar for other reasons to have equal access to the benefits of self-generation. In addition, Community Solar delivers the benefits of solar power at lower costs by aggregating customers into larger projects, which have economies of scale.
HB 210 Community Solar generates local wealth through the creation of new green jobs and enables people to repurpose energy dollar savings, further stimulating our local economies. Alternative energy jobs are the fastest growing job sector in New Mexico.
HB 210 passed 7-0 in the House Energy, Environments & Natural Resources committee. Next stop is the House Judiciary committee.
What you can do:
- Learn more about the bill here and download shareable flyers
- Contact members of the House Judiciary committee to express your support for HB 210
HB 278: Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women
HB 278 would declare an emergency and immediately allocate $100,000 to create the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force. Because of jurisdictional gaps, reporting gaps, lack of coordination among law enforcement, uneven media coverage, and other factors, New Mexico has some of the highest rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) in the U.S.
Dr. Corrine Sanchez, TWU’s executive director, comments, “We would be in support of this bill, but would urge that they consider a position on the task force for a Native Women’s non-profit that deals with sexual assault and domestic violence, like the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. In particular, since often times victims are fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault or other abusive situations and may not have the support of their tribal/pueblo communities or the pueblo/tribes may even support the alleged perpetrators.”
What you can do:
- Contact members of the House Judiciary committee to express your support for HB 278
- Attend the House Judiciary hearing on Friday, Feb 1, at 1:30 pm in Room 309 — please wear red.
- Attend the MMIW Awareness Day at the Roundhouse, March 1, 10 am – 12 noon.
This Citizen’s Guide to Legislative Advocacy in New Mexico, created by New Mexico Voices for Children, is an excellent resource to help you navigate the process that a bill goes through, and understand how to be an effective advocate.
Thank you for your support to continue our ongoing work to end violence against women, girls, and Mother Earth.