February 28, 2019

Legislative Response Team Rolls On

February 2019 UNIFIED ACTION
Sign up for the Legislative Response Team, Cont.
Sponsored by the PVA Executive Committee, www.pva-nm.org

Read about this Unified Action or sign up here.

Health Security Act has a Real Chance this Year

As a big picture, it’s known that the US spends way more by far, more than any other country in the world, on healthcare. In fact, America spends twice the average amount of money on healthcare than other countries similar to America and our outcomes are far worse. America was ranked 29th in infant mortality and 26th in life expectancy in 2016 so America is paying the most and getting worse outcomes and we don’t cover everyone.

In a personal moment, Daveena Norris shared a story about her father’s experience with a heart attack this past Thanksgiving in Silver City. After being resuscitated, he was told that he would have to be flown to Las Cruces to the nearest cardiac center. Daveena said that her dad tried to refuse the helicopter because he didn’t think he’d be able to afford it and he didn’t want his daughters to have to deal with the medical bill. Fortunately, he did go, and he is still with us today.

A lot of Americans don’t seek out medical care because of their inability to pay. Even with the expansion of Medicaid, 13% of adults under 65 are still uninsured and those with insurance are limited in providers and premiums are high. The Health Security Act bill would allow financial analysis of their plan and would give New Mexico residents comprehensive state-employee level benefits, it would allow people the freedom to choose their providers, it would be run by a citizen’s commission that is publicly accountable and representative geographically and their meetings would be open to the public. 

What you can do: Give Senator Joseph Cervantes a call at (505) 986-4861 and ask him to support it. Check out the bill here.

From Ideas to Policy

Sharon Thomas updated everyone on the city’s comprehensive plan. On February 27, Sharon shared that there were three meetings that day and that 20-30 people were in each meeting. It’s been a great opportunity to help turn ideas into city policy.

Sharon also mentioned the Mayor Ken Miyagishima’s State of the City Address that “was just wonderful” happened on February 28th, 2019 where he discussed climate change and gave a key to the city away.

Here’s the video if you’d like to watch it or share it with friends: https://vimeo.com/320876580

For more information, contact Sharon.

Mona is the Word, Mona is the Name

Rosemarie Sanchez personally shared that she supports Mona Trempe for DPDAC county chair because she’s “well qualified, has professional etiquette, and is respected;” she’s coordinated and communicates effectively towards a common goal.

Rosemarie shared on behalf of Jane Asche, says she fully supports Mona, she listens to everyone, plays fair, true blue, respectful of others and for herself.

For more information, contact Rosemarie.

HB366 & Prius Raffle

Amanda Munro wanted everyone to urge their representatives to vote “yes” on HB366 or “Roxy’s Law” which would ban traps, poisons, and snares on New Mexico’s public lands. She explained that this is a reasonable solution that will protect wildlife, companion animals, and citizens enjoying New Mexico’s public lands from unnecessary and accidental suffering injuries, and deaths – and better align the management of wildlife with modern conservation practices and New Mexico voters’ humane values – while still allowing certain key tools for ranchers and government agencies to protect public health and livestock. It will also help mitigate the emotional and financial strain of dealing with the loss or injury of an animal because of the jaws of a trap, a snare, or poisons.

Check out: https://trapfreenm.org/ for more information.

She also announced the Prius Prime raffle event that will be at SWEC. “The Prime gets about 25 miles on just the electric battery before recharging–perfect for commuting! After that it can run as a regular hybrid. Want to drive to California? No problem. At an EPA-rated 54 mpg/133 MPGe, the 2019 Prius Prime is the most efficient car in its class.” You can buy tickets on website, there are only 500 tickets which are priced at $110. The drawing will be held on Earth Day at the Las Cruces downtown plaza on Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Ah, now we get it: The Oil Conservation Division Powers and Duties Bill

Lucas Herndon, from ProgressNow New Mexico, wanted to ask everyone to call or email the Senate Judiciary committee (Senator Cervantes, specifically) to urge the senators to support SB186, the Oil Conservation Division Powers and Duties bill. Lucas explained that there’s a huge loophole that makes it so the oil and gas industry can commit infraction-upon-environment-destroying-infraction, and the OCD cannot issue fines administratively even if it wanted to. 

Last year there were 1,700+ infractions and no infraction fees were collected. This bill would restore powers for citizens to call them out. It needs to happen.

Lucas wrote an article about this and you can read it here.

Indivisible Meeting re: Energy Issues

Greg White briefly shared that Indivisible Las Cruces was formed in direct response against to Trump’s beliefs and actions; the groups wants to foster a positive environment of direction in support of causes they support and against causes they don’t.

He announced an event:

“Energy at the Crossroads”
March 12 at 5:00 PM
Branigan Library, Roadrunner Room 
Speaker – Mariel Nanasi from New Energy Economy

For more information, check out the website.

Support for Renewable Energy & Energy Transition Act

Fay Yuruit talked about a city specific resolution regarding renewable energy. The NMSU Student Senate voted to ensure that NMSU will to commit to using 100% renewable energy by 2050 (the university currently uses 1% renewable energy).

She also said the Energy Transition Act (SB489) is a great bill because it would expand the renewable energy portfolio by 2045 and would incentivize more renewable energy jobs. She encouraged everyone to call their senators and said she was open to have a dialogue with anyone who wanted to talk about it.

For more information, contact Fay.

The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County: Elections will happen in March

Marty Rennart expressed his feelings about the upcoming DPDAC election and candidates running.

For more information, contact Marty.

Ready for a Good Book?

Alice Anderson had some book recommendations for everyone off the new book shelf at the Branigan Library:

Brothers of Deceit by Rashid Khalidi (964.063), which is a history of the U.S. and Israel relations from Ronald Reagan to present (2013).

The Death of Truth by Michiko Katkutani (306.2097); Katkutani is a former book editor for the New York Times.

For more information, contact Alice.

Adventures in Santa Fe

Ed Frank went to Santa Fe to talk to the legislators about education in NM. He met with the Chair of the House Education Committee, Rep. Andres Romero. Ed joked that he was extremely young (Ed thought it was cute that Romero’s mom substitutes for him when he’s involved with the Legislative Session) but he was also very excited to see a young and passionate educator, who is making really important decisions for our students, teachers, support staff, and schools.

He also met with Rep. Linda Trujillo is the vice-chair of the House Education Committee, and who was a one-time president of the Santa Fe School Board and one-time president of the State School Board Association. Ed emphasized that it’s important to have people who understand education on this committee. Las Cruces’ own Sen. Bill Soules, is chair of the Senate Education Committee and Ed feels that we are all in good shape and represented well.

Finally, he got to hear newly appointed state education secretary, Karen Trujillo (who is from Doña Ana County), speak. He was impressed that she gave straightforward and honest answers to questions. He looked around the room and joked that after years of a different style of leadership, the people seemed to be thinking, “Oh! This is what competence looks like.”

For more information, contact Ed.

How does 100% Renewable Energy in Las Cruces in <5 Years (plus Reduced Energy bills) sound?

Rocky Bacchus spoke on behalf of HB210, The Community Solar Bill. He said we could be using 100% renewable energy within the next five years and save 20% on electric bills. He’s asking everyone to ask the legislators to vote “yes” and noted that the bill has a lot of opposition from utility companies.

He also voiced his concerns about SB489, and said he has spoken to 20 senators and they are all against it. Click here to keep track of bills as they make their way through the House and Senate.

For more information, contact Rocky.

DPDAC – District 37

Jan Hertzsch reminded us that he is running for District Director of District 37 (this is Rep. Joanne Ferrary’s House district) and Cheryl Frank is running Deputy District Director. The elections take place in two parts: the first part is on March 21 at 5:30 and the second part will be on March 30 at 8:30 AM at the Las Cruces Convention Center. You can find out about this process here.

The idea, said Jan, is to be organized, communicate, and talk to people! He wants Democratic candidates to be able to contact district directors for help campaigning. He also wants all of this to be an enjoyable time.

For more information, visit Jan’s Facebook Page.

PVA Respects the Progressive Community

Don Kurtz said that we can all see that there are good arguments on both sides of HB489 – the Energy Transition Act. The progressive community is split about this bill. Because of this, the Legislative Response Team is staying out of this one – PVA doesn’t want to divide the progressive community .

For more information, contact Don.

Compassion and Choices

Dean Lively clarified with everyone that he himself does not have a terminal illness (that he knows of) and didn’t mean to leave that impression on people last time if he did. He is asking everyone to contact their representatives to urge support for HB90, the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act. The companion bill, SB153 is in Senate Judiciary Committee and please contact Joseph Cervantes at joseph@cervanteslawnm.com

He also suggested that everyone check out this website for more information.

Mona Trempe – Did you hear? She’s running for DPDAC Chair.

Mona Trempe is running for Chair of DPDAC and asked for our vote in the upcoming DPDAC elections. 2020 is coming and she feels we need to elect and reelect Democrats up and down the ballot. She wants to build an organized party structure, enhance community agents so Democrats know what’s going on, work as a team within the party and with other organizations throughout the county to maximize resources and voices within the community.

She’s a former teacher, researcher, and an administrator. She feels she can bring calm, reasoned, effective leadership to the party.

Make your voice heard by going to the upcoming district meetings on Thursday, March 21st, doors open at 5:30 P.M. and you must be in line by 6:00 P.M. Go here to find the location of each district meeting. And, then go to the County Central Committee meeting on Saturday March 30t, doors open at 8:45 A.M. and the meeting starts at 9:30 A.M. at the Las Cruces Convention Center. What to do: Use your CCC member vote to choose the District Directors, County Chair, County Vice-Chairs, and State Central Committee members that will lead the Party through the 2019-2020 elections. You will also be voting on the new party rules.

If you’re unsure of your district and precinct, you can look up your voter registration online at: voterportal.servis.sos.state.nm.us/WhereToVote.aspx

For more information, contact Mona.

A Field Organizer’s Endorsement for Mona Trempe

Pat Aguirre was the third person of the night to advocate for Mona Trempe, she says she is the person we deserve for the head of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County. “She’s educated, responsible, involved, a good team player, and has a pleasant demeanor,” she explained. Pat shared that throughout Joanne Ferrary’s campaign, Mona often took initiative and self-taught herself the skills to accomplish tasks. In addition, she is someone who says what needs to be said. Pat encouraged everyone to vote for Mona in the upcoming DPDAC elections.

For more information, contact Pat.

New Facility for Casa de Peregrinos

Eric Walkinshaw shared that after he moved to Las Cruces in 2014 from Washington, he met Lori Miller and Leonard Gambrel and they encouraged him to volunteer at Casa de Peregrinos food bank. The facility was developed to distribute 5,000 pounds of donations per year, but in 2018, they distributed 3.5 million pounds and served 30,000 clients. He asked everyone to contact your legislators and ask them to support putting capital improvement project funds into a new facility for Casa de Peregrinos.

For more information, contact Eric.

Support for the Energy Transition Act (SB489)

Erin Pang, who works with Environment New Mexico, asked everyone to help support the Energy Transition Act (SB489). Click here to read about why Environment New Mexico supports this bill. She announced that it would be heard in the Senate Corporations Committee on Saturday March 2. Senator Papen is on the committee and her number is: (505) 986-4733.

For more information, contact Erin.

Meet and Greet for Mona Trempe

Luis Guerrero announced that there would be a meet and greet with Mona Trempe on March 3rd, at Salud de Mesilla. He emphasized that it is important to elect someone who will work with everyone in 2020 and that she is the best choice for Party Chair.

For more information, contact Luis.

Water in the Southwest

Antoinette Reyes announced that at the March 9 meeting of the Southern New Mexico New Progressives, the program would be about water issues in the Southwest. The discussion will center around local water issues and an overview of the current Rio Grande litigation (NM v TX v CO) water case.

Water in the Southwest
March 9, 2-4pm
Southwest Environmental Center

For more information, visit the SNMNP Facebook Page.C

Your Precinct # Might be Changing

County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds is looking for volunteer poll watchers. He also mentioned that there should only be 750 people per precinct so when the census is done, we will go from 120 precincts to probably 180 precincts; he said that 40-60 precincts are over the 750 limit.

The county is also cleaning up the voter roll, so if you or someone you know hasn’t voted in four years, their name might be dropped. He advised people to contact the clerk’s office to verify that you’re voter registration is a-ok.

Shannon encouraged everyone to be involved in the DPDAC, and maybe think about running for precinct chair or vice chair. “It’s the only way to win 2020!” he said.

For more information, visit Shannon on Facebook.

Good News: Sheriff Kim Stewart believes in Following the Law.

Kim Stewart, the sheriff, said that in the last 8 weeks, she worked more than 8 hours each month, so your tax dollars are being used wisely.😉 On January 2, she made Tom Henning in charge of public liaisons.

She also shared information about an AARP Grant – Community Challenge 2019. This “quick action” grant helps make communities livable for people of all ages. “Grants can range from several hundred dollars for smaller short-term activities to several thousand for larger projects!” The deadline for applications is April 17th, 2019 and is eligible for 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and 501(c)(6) non-profits, government entities, and other types of organizations, considered on a case-by-case basis. Want more information? Head over to www.aarp.org.

Kim was also very pleased to say that she supports SB8 and that she is one of only 4 sheriffs in the state who supports reasonable, common sense background checks. Please read this important article on the issue.

For more information, contact Sheriff Stewart.

A Real National Emergency

Rich Renner spoke about the real National Emergency: the Humanitarian Emergency, happening at our border. The ongoing Immigrant Hospitality Efforts that continue every day in various centers in Las Cruces and El Paso need help. Specifically, the Annunciation House needs volunteers and monetary donations to serve immigrants released from detention (21,000-22,000 individuals a year) to assist them in traveling to their families in the USA. Democracy is not a spectator sport, said Rich, who is hoping you give some money or your time to help advocate for these individuals.

For more information, visit the Annunciation House website.

Thoughtful Advocacy and Support

Reba Renner shared that there are many opportunities to volunteer with immigrants in Las Cruces. There are several organizations in Las Cruces which help (including The Annunciation House, Peace Lutheran Church, El Calvario Methodist Church) and they receive about 200 people a week. These organizations need help with getting people off the bus, arranging cots, preparing food, sorting clothing, distributing clean clothes, and helping arrange travel, etc.

Suggestions for donations:
Clothing small-medium sizes (for the appropriate season), warm knit tops, jeans or sweats, knit hats, gloves, winter coats, shoes (preferably athletic), women’s bras, leggings; (underwear and socks are usually purchased with donated funds).

Small stuffed animals, single item such as a car or doll, storybook in Spanish, picture vocabulary book in English; (toy sets with multiple pieces aren’t suitable for travel nor are toys that make noise).

For more information, contact Reba.

Endorsement for Rusty Pearce and Joann Vullo for DPDAC Chair and Vice Chair

Gina Montoya Ortega shared that she is supporting Rusty Pearce and Joann Vullo for chair and vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Doña Ana County. She feels they would unite the party. Gina encouraged everyone to show up to the Las Cruces Convention Center on March 30th (starts at 9:00 AM) to vote.

For more information, contact Gina.

Imprudent Investment, Imprudent Bill

Allen Downs commented on the SB489 and said PNM can’t close the San Juan coal powered plant – he said, “they’re abandoning their share.” He believes that because the people in Farmington want to keep it open, the bill won’t achieve the goal of closing the plant. Allen said that the plant was an imprudent investment; the bill gives them all of their stranded assets costs through the legislature when typically this would go through the PRC, who would probably say that PNM made the decision so it’s fair for the rate payers to pay for it but it’s also fair the shareholders to pay part of it. This bill takes 100% of the stranded assets and securitizes it at a long interest rate but it may not be cheaper for PNM’s consumers than securing than perhaps half of it. Therefore, Allen believes the bill would not necessarily save money.

For more information, contact Allen.

“Socialist? Hell Yeah!”

Joann Vullo is running for vice chair of the Democratic party, she wants to help district directors and unify the Democrats in Doña Ana County – she feels that we have more in common than our foes would like us to think. She said, “If we are called liberals or progressives, we are called Democrats first.” The newest label is socialist, and she says, “Hell yeah!” because she believes that it is the government’s responsibility to provide for the people. She’s hoping that the Democrats of Doña Ana will support her as vice chair and Rusty Pearce as chair at Las Cruces High School on March 30th at 9:00 AM.

For more information, visit the DPDAC website.

Update from Rep. Joanne Ferrary

Pat Aguirre wanted to pass along what Representative Joanne Ferrary has been up to; she shared that Joanne is working on getting the Decriminalization of Abortion bill through the senate, as well as working on a minimum wage increase bill. Joanne was able to chair the House Health and Human Services Committee and expressed that the sheer amount of organization it takes to schedule and prepare bills for committee is intense.

For more information, contact Pat or Rep. Ferrary.

Kat Sanchez for District 35 Director

Luis Gurerro spoke on behalf of Kat Sanchez, who is working really hard in Santa Fe; she is working on legislation that will help New Mexico’s families. However, she wanted to announce her candidacy for District Director for District 35. She’s passionate about Las Cruces, her advocacy work, and committed to working our community to the next level. Kat asks that everyone supports her on March 21st at 5:30 at Alma de Arte so “Southern New Mexico can have a louder voice for issues that get neglected statewide, so voters and representatives have more than a transactional relationship with one another.” She believes in being involved at the grassroots level. She also said she never again wants to feel the way she did on November 8, 2016.

For more information, contact Kat.

Reproductive Healthcare Access & Decriminalization of Abortion

Fay Yuruit spoke about HB51, which is the abortion decriminalization bill. The bill simply decriminalizes abortion in NM, and would therefore assure that women have the right to make their own decisions. Also, Fay noted that she supports HB89, which would make contraception more accessible (allowing people to get a six-month supply of contraception and insurance to pay for condoms).

Read the bills here.

Kellie Dinsmore is Ready to Serve

Kellie Dinsmore is running for Deputy District Director for District 35. She was born and raised in District 35 and lives in the house her grandparents purchased in the 1930’s. She explained that she’s been heavily involved in the Democratic Party since 2014. She wants to help with the grassroots efforts. She’s ready to make sure our state stays blue by working hard to get folks informed and energized in participating in elections locally and nationally. She encouraged everyone to vote on March 21st at 5:30 at Alma de Arte.

For more information, contact Kellie.

GND Coalition

Joann Vullo and Cathy Wooten announced a meeting to talk about environmental issues. Timothy Curtin, former union organizer, from Albuquerque would be in town to attend and talk about community solar.

GND Coalition
March 1st
Corner Bakery

She also said SB489 has too many problems and “even Cervantes says so and that. It’s not what it seems, read the fine print.”

For more information, contact Joann.

Be Proud of our New Mexico Legislators

Rocky Bacchus added to his previous comments, saying that we should be proud of our legislators. In the discussions everyone had a lot of strong opinions with good intentions, but we should be proud of how they’re discussing issues and being respectful of each other. Good discussions get things done; plus please realize that none of them are being paid so be sure to thank them and tell them you appreciate their efforts!

One Last Word about SB489

Greg White encourages everyone to speak to Steve Fischmann about SB489 – he’s done his research and we should all give him the courtesy to ask him questions about it!

PVA Meets Again:
Thursday, March 28, 2019, 7PM
Munson Senior Center