2023 New Mexico Legislative Session — Big Wins for Our Communities!

This year’s 60-day New Mexico Legislative Session concluded on March 18. It was a packed session with hundreds of bills winding their way through a maze of committee hearings, floor votes, and backroom conversations. In the end, many bills do not make it all the way to the Governor’s desk. But some of them do, and this year we are grateful that a number of pieces of legislation that we endorsed or supported in other ways are now signed into law or will be soon.

Here are the bills that succeeded – and that will make a direct positive impact on the lives of our community members, and in some cases even save lives:

HB 7 Reproductive & Gender-Affirming Health Care
HB 7 prevents government bodies or individuals from interfering with or discriminating against someone’s access or use of reproductive or gender identity health care. Heaven Lee Kim, our Reproductive Justice Coordinator, was part of a coalition of organizations that worked tirelessly to get HB 7 passed. She said, “Tewa Women United is incredibly excited to see New Mexico lead the way in ensuring that all people have access to the life-saving healthcare they need in order to live full and authentic lives, especially in rural and Indigenous communities who have historically lacked that access.” The Governor signed House Bill 7 into law on March 16.

SB 13 Reproductive Health Provider Protections
SB 13 will protect both providers and patients seeking abortion care and gender-affirming healthcare from other states or individuals out of state who try to seek information about the patient or provider. Sen. Brenda McKenna noted some states have created punishments that include up to 99 years in prison, $100,000 fine, loss of license to practice if a medical professional provides an abortion to their patients. SB 13 is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

SB 132 STI Prevention and Treatment
SB 132 will eliminate co-pays and cost sharing for sexually transmitted infection testing, treatment and prevention. If enacted, this bill will help to stem the increased rates of sexually transmitted disease. SB 132 is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

SB 53 Storage of Certain Radioactive Waste
SB 53 prevents permitting Holtec International for construction of a “temporary” storage facility in southern New Mexico for the nation’s high-level nuclear waste. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission could still issue a permit to Holtec to build this facility, which could potentially lead to a court case. Nonetheless this was a huge victory on behalf of communities who do not want dangerous radioactive waste transported through their roads or stored near their homes. The Governor signed Senate Bill 53 into law on March 17.

We also highly recommend this 2023 NM Legislative Wrap Up put together by Progress New Mexico to learn about some of the other important bills that were passed during this session.

We work with many partner organizations and individuals during the legislative session (and beyond it) to advocate for bills like these that exemplify principles of environmental and reproductive justice. We are grateful to these partners for their incredible efforts during these two months, and to our Policy Coordinator Kevin Beltran who tracked these and other bills and stayed in close communication with partners and community members.

We are also deeply grateful to each of you who took the time to contact your Senators and Representatives. Your voice matters!