It is time again for another New Mexico Legislative Session. This year is a short fiscal-based year, lasting only 30 days. We will be updating you every week as to what is going on, what is coming up, and what YOU can do. We need you more than ever friends as we track cuts to social spending, changes to Medicaid, challenges to human rights, and the value of the helping professions. THIS is the value of your membership and your support of NASW - it allows us to advocate and represent not only our profession but our communities and those that we serve everyday. Thank you for all you do and for your help during these ever changing times.
We will return to our regular newsletters soon but this one will be short and will cover what we know so far. Read it, respond, and let us know if you can get involved. You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as contacting our amazing lobbyist Karen Whitlock at email@example.com.
Cheers, Elisa Kawam
NASW-NM Executive Director
2018 Legislative Agenda: What is on our list (so far!)
Memorial For Patrick Tyrrell: As many of you know, our beloved founding NASW-NM director, Pat Tyrrell passed away this last September. In honor of him we are working this legislative session to craft a memorial with his name on it. So far we have spoken to Jerry Ortiz y Pino (who agreed to serve as the Senate sponor) and Gayle Chasey (who agreed to serve as the House sponsor). We are asking Doreen Gallegoa and Sharon Clausachillage this week for their support as well. As things progress we will let you all know.
Funding for CHIP and Medicaid: We are in the process of contacting MAD and CHIP for guidance in how we can assist and will attend hearings and testify in support of alternative funding for CHIP and Medicaid. Human Services (HSD) Secretary Brent Earnest is going to ask for $31 million for CHIP however the current CHIP budget is uncertain given that it is federally funded.
(HSD) is asking for $31 million for Medicaid and again we are not sure what that will look like in terms of federal matching dollars. If federal matching does occur we are uncertain of how much. The current ratio is either 3:1 or 4:1 depending on program.
Child Welfare: We are in the process of scheduling a meeting with CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobsen to find out what we can support her on with childcare; she has asked for funding of $25 million for such. She has indicated that the $25 million is necessary to keep funding for 100% of FPL. If funding is not secured, childcare may go up to 200% of FPL.
Secondary to funding is the current three-tiered registration for child care provision.
Tier 1: Registration Only. This was for Parents or Grandparents providing childcare in their own homes with a limit of 4 children in the home. The reason they would choose to register with CYFD was to have access to a healthy foods program for the children.
Tier 2: Home Based childcare. This was a second tier for people wanting to qualify for subsidized daycare as well as the food program. There were limits on how many children but there was a step-up from just registration.
Tier 3: Center-based childcare. This is for a full-fledged childcare business and these had to have the highest level of licensure and regulation.
Regardless of the tier or level, the same licensure process is required including fingerprint and background checks with the childcare providers having to pay the fees for the fingerprinting and background checks, as well as a deposition for each employee.
This tiered system of regulation has driven childcare underground as parents/grandparents providing childcare to children/grandchildren are not able to access the healthy food program that may benefit them.
We will advocate for changes to this registration so that children in tier 1 will be able to access the healthy food program. This would not cause the budgetary request to increase, because the healthy food program is not state funded, but would bring healthy foods into those homes.
We will continue to advocate for the continuation of both the Direct Caregivers Task Force and the Autism Task Force.
We will testify in opposition to the following proposed legislation as guided by our Code of Ethics:
- Death Penalty: we wish to have the death penalty repealed as it currently is in NM
- Three Strikes: this legislation is discriminatory and punitive especially against those living in impoverished areas as well as racial/ethnic minorities
- Abortion: we are not taking a stance on this issue but rather the access to affordable, fair, and high quality reproductive health care for women
- School Based Health Care Centers and Community Based Health Care Centers/Behavioral Health Care Centers: we will stand in opposition to any cuts to these healthcare centers
Specific bills we are monitoring closely
Rural Tax Credit (not yet introduced)
Minimum Wage Bills (multiple) - will testify in raising the minimum wage
HB16 Abortion Decriminalization (Joanne Ferrary, Bill Soules) - support
HB 53 Making an appropriation to the crime victims reparation commission to fund services for victims of human trafficking (Christine Trujillo)- support
HJM 2 (Joanne Ferrary) - Develop a comprehensive plan for a Behavioral Health inpatient Hospital in the Southern part of the state. support
HJR 1, SJR2 Land Grant Fund Distribution increase - support
SB8 Interagency Pharmaceutical purchasing council (Jeff Steinborn). Currently looking at how we can support him on this as Steinborn brought this bill last year. We will try to leverage different state agencies to get better prices on pharmaceuticals for Medicaid and state employees insurance - support
SB17 Gross Receipts for certain nonprofits creating an exemption (Cisneros) - support
SB25 Cig and E-Cig tax increase for public schools (Howie Morales) - support
SJM1 Task Force Veteran Suicide - support
SM2 Study Gun Deaths and Injuries (Bill Soules) - support
SJR3 Early Childhood Education Dept. (Padilla) - support
Coming up and how you can act!
Wednesday Jan 31 Public listening Session: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently finalized changes to Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records regulations (42 CFR part 2). On Wednesday, January 31st, from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. EST, SAMHSA will hold a public listening session to solicit feedback on the regulations. The listening session will offer an opportunity to provide input concerning the effect of 42 CFR Part 2 on patient care, health outcomes, and patient privacy, as well as potential regulatory changes. registration here
How to find out what is going on in the New Mexico Legislature:
Look on NMLegis.gov and look at What's Happening. Look up Committee Schedule and see if there is anything going on in Committees, both House and Senate that you are interested in or you think that we should be paying attention to. You can come to the Roundhouse and watch these committees in person, or click on the Webcast. If there is something that I have not covered on the Legislative Summary then let me know and we can cover this.
Things you can do to help:
Contact your legislators and ask for their support on increases in childcare, home visitation, and medicaid. We will also notify you if any other issues of importance crop up.
How to contact legislators:
Go to NMlegis.gov and look up legislators. If you do not know who your legislator is, enter your address and your legislator will appear!! All of your legislator's contact information will be there. Things to have your legislator support are increases in childcare, home visitation and medicaid.
Finally: Pay attention to the emails from NASW National. They are our eyes and ears federally and will need New Mexico input! If there are any issues you want us to advocate on just let us know!
Karen graduated in 2015 from Western New Mexico University with her MSW. As a student she was the NASW legislative intern for 2015. It was while Karen was interning with NASW that she realized that Macro work was for her. “I felt as if I had been dropped by a helicopter in heaven.” She often says.
Karen’s undergraduate degree was in Political Science from American University in Washington, DC. She interned for a congressman while earning her undergraduate degree and worked for a Capitol Hill consultant upon graduation.
Karen was also the recipient of the NASW-NM Student of the Year Award in 2015.
Please feel free to contact Karen about any issues you would like to learn more about. She enjoys hearing about NASW members’ interests and concerns.
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