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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

HB603: Domestic Partner Rights And Responsibilities Act Passes Full Vote of House

From Equality New Mexico:
In what can only be described as the fastest vote in the West, HB 603, the Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act passed a full vote of the House by a vote of 33-24.

Stewart_1Many of us gathered to fill the gallery and await the hearing of the Bill. HB 603 was number 25 on the agenda, so we settled in for a long day and an even longer hearing. The hearing began, and was over in less than 2 minutes. Rep. Mimi Stewart (right), who sponsored the bill for us, stepped up to the microphone and introduced the Bill. No one in the room hit their button to speak, and the Speaker closed the debate. Rep. Stewart closed and asked that the House “Do Now Pass.” The vote began.  Before we knew it, the 30 second timer began counting down and the voting started. It was chaos on the floor as the vote was called and many of the legislators who had stepped out of the room scrambled to cast their votes. The last 5 seconds on the timer seemed to pass very slowly as the votes came pouring in. In the end, the vote was 33-24 in favor, which included a few “yes” votes from some surprising allies.

Take a look at the list of “yes” votes below and please give them a call to thank them for their vote. (Click on their names to get contact information.)

A special thank you should go out to Representative Mimi Stewart for all of her hard work. We could not have asked for a better sponsor.

HB603 was introduced in the Senate late yesterday afternoon and has been assigned to Senate Public Affairs Commitee and Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Passing this legislation through the Senate will be an uphill battle, and we will need all of your help.  Keep participating in our online campaigns (our last targeted campaign generated over 12,000 letters to the legislators), tell your friends and neighbors, and keep calling and visiting your legislators to educate them on these issues. EQNM will issue notification as soon as further hearings are scheduled.

February 28, 2007 at 03:07 PM in Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, NM Legislature 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5)

DC Dems to Hold Official Forum With Wal-Mart, Chamber of Commerce

As David Sirota says in this piece (click on 'read more' below), be prepared to puke. He reports on our Beltway Democratic leadership setting up a kiss-kiss meeting with all the big money culprits pushing "free" trade on workers here and around the world. Given that a significant number of newbie Dems won in '06 by running on a populist, economic fairness agenda, doing something like this takes real nerve. Apparently the Dem leadership in both the U.S. House and Senate has guts when it comes to making nice with the forces working against labor and the common folk, but can't find the gumption to go up against the Bush-Cheney all war all the time machine. That certainly makes me want to puke. How about you?

Reminds me of the recent actions of some of our local Dems -- like Sen. Lidio Rainaldi of Gallup introducing a "Defense of Marriage" bill, or Sen. Michael Sanchez of Belen whining that the proposed ethics and campaign finance reform package represents unwarranted punishment against legislators or Rep. Joni Gutierrez of Las Cruces changing her vote to resurrect the despicable $85 million tax subsidy for the filthy, coal-fired Desert Rock power plant on the Navajo reservation or the long list of Democrats fighting effective regulation of payday loan sharks in the state. Of course, there are many excellent, true to our core beliefs Dems, but these days I think way too many are being swayed by all the wrong forces.

I'm sure big dollar donors have nothing to do with it. Just like "campaign contributions" from insurance companies and HMOs have nothing to do with the Dems, at both the state and national level, refusing to do anything meaningful to stop the escalating shoveling of money to those interests so that universal, high quality health care can be provided to everyone. Just remember, they're ALL "for health care" (as they put it) -- just not enough to risk pissing off the people who cough up funds and perks for them. Ordinary citizens be damned.

It's always instructive to remember that it was Bill Clinton who pushed and signed NAFTA, put Robert Rubin in charge of the Treasury and gave us the telecommunications act that allowed all that power to gather in the hands of big, global media conglomerates. You can see what will happen if Hillary or another DLC clone gains the presidency again. The results of our "win" in the Congress appear to be disappointing enough. Think what damage such a Congress and DLC Executive branch working together would be able to do.

read more |

February 28, 2007 at 01:42 PM in Democratic Party, Economy, Populism | Permalink | Comments (2)

Impeachment Quote of the Day

"It's been obvious, I'm sure, that I've wanted to see an end to the disastrous and immoral policies of the Bush administration, but never before was I so absolutely convinced as I am now that impeachment and removal from office is not only appropriate, but morally and legally compelled. I firmly believe that our nation is at its lowest point ever — morally, legally and in terms of its relations with the rest of the world.

Any review of what the founders had in mind when they drafted the impeachment clause of the Constitution would make it abundantly clear that the outrageous abuses of power, the violations of our Constitution and of sacred treaty obligations, the dictatorial assumption of powers and derogation of the balance of power between the three branches of government implicit in our democracy and the disgraceful human rights abuses are far beyond anything that would have to be established to demonstrate a high crime or misdemeanor." --Rocky Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, who will be testifying before the Washington State Legislature Thursday on behalf of a resolution introduced by State Sen. Eric Oemig (D-Kirkland) calling on Congress to investigate and possibly impeach Bush and Cheney. Read more.

February 28, 2007 at 08:53 AM in Impeachment | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 17 in Santa Fe: 4th Anniversary of Iraq War

From Peace Action New Mexico:

  • Rally and March to Commemorate 4th Anniversary of Iraq War
  • Saturday, March 17th, 1:00 PM
  • The Roundhouse, NM State Capitol (corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe)
  • Invited Keynotes: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Tom Udall, Mayor David Coss, Tim Reynolds of the Dave Matthews Band

Peace Action New Mexico, part of the coalition, United for Peace and Justice, who are sponsoring the nationwide commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the start of the war and occupation of Iraq, is hosting the New Mexico commemoration. We invite all groups and organizations in New Mexico to join this event on the final day of the State Legislature at the Roundhouse.

There will be music by a ten piece marimba band, speakers, costumes, dancers and a march to the Plaza. This is a family-friendly peaceful event. Bring your kids, pets, placards, musical instruments and drums to this important occasion. Tell the Bush administration of your strong opposition to this illegal and immoral war and occupation and the continuing troop buildup. Bring our troops home now! Click to RSVP.

For more information and to help organize, call Peace Action New Mexico at 505.989.4812.

February 28, 2007 at 08:21 AM in Events, Iraq War, Middle East, Peace | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 17 ABQ Anti-War Protest (and Website)

Nmw2 Nwi2_1Troops Home Now!

Join the March 17, 2007 Anti-War Rally in Albuquerque, NM. More than 1,000 protesters made their voices heard in Albuquerque on January 27, 2007! Global protest on the fourth year of war on Iraq.

Bring our troops home NOW: 26 New Mexicans have died. March 17th protests to occur in 150 American cities. Click to visit the new Albuquerque March Website, where you can get more information on both the local and national marches, learn how to you can help with the planning, sign up for email updates, download a flyer and more.

February 28, 2007 at 08:02 AM in Events, Iraq War, Middle East, Peace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

(Updated) ALERT: Health Security Act Hearings in Both Senate and House

From the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign:
We have a busy week ahead of us! The Health Security Act will be heard in committee in both the Senate and the House this week, after some delays this past weekend.

House Bill 1222 Scheduled for Thursday!
House Bill 1222 (the House bill for the Health Security Act) is scheduled to be heard in the House Health and Government Affairs Committee this Thursday, March 1. The committee will meet at 8:00 AM in Room 309 at the State Capitol. Please come if you can!

CANCELLED: Senate Bill 720 Scheduled for Wednesday!
Sente Bill 720 (the Senate bill for the Health Security Act) is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee this Wednesday, February 28.

We need a large turnout at this hearing! We know it's hard to fit a trip to the Capitol into a busy schedule, especially when the Senate is late getting off the floor and delays the committees. However, a big show of support is absolutely vital. So if there's any way you can, please make plans to come to Wednesday's hearing on the Health Security Act.

The Senate Finance Committee meets in Room 322 at the State Capitol. The committee will meet Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 PM or half an hour after the floor session ends. Because the floor session often runs late, please don't hesitate to call the Senate Finance Committee secretary at 986-4365 to find out if the Senate is still on the floor and when the committee will start meeting.

Keep Up the Calls to Finance Committee Senators!

Senate Finance Committee Members

  • Sen. Timothy Z. Jennings, Co-Chair (D) – Senate District 32 (Chaves, Eddy, Lincoln, and Otero counties): 986-4362
  • Sen. John Arthur Smith, Co-Chair (D) – Senate District 35 (Hidalgo, Luna, and Sierra counties): 986-4363
  • Sen. Carlos R. Cisneros, Vice Chair (D) – Senate District 6 (Taos): 986-4863
  • Sen. Joseph J. Carraro (R) – Senate District 23 (Bernalillo and Sandoval counties): 986-4387
  • Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort (R) – Senate District 19 (Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Santa Fe counties): 986-4395
  • Sen. Pete Campos (D) – Senate District 8 (Guadalupe, Mora, San Miguel, Santa Fe, and Torrance counties): 986-4311
  • Sen. Carroll H. Leavell (R) – Senate District 41 (Eddy and Lea counties): 986-4278
  • Sen. Leonard Lee Rawson (R) – Senate District 37 (Doña Ana and Sierra counties): 986-4703
  • Sen. Nancy Rodriguez (D) – Senate District 24 (Santa Fe): 986-4264
  • Sen. Bernadette Sanchez (D) – Senate District 26 (Albuquerque): 986-4267

Now Is the Time to Call Health and Government Affairs Representatives!

We have until Thursday morning to influence House Health and Government Affairs Committee members. Keep the calls coming!

House Health and Government Affairs Committee Members

  • Rep. Mimi Stewart, Chair (D) – House District 21 (Albuquerque): 986-4840
  • Rep. Nick L. Salazar, Vice Chair (D) – House District 40 (Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Santa Fe, and Taos counties): 986-4433
  • Rep. Paul C. Bandy (R) – House District 3 (San Juan County): 986-4214
  • Rep. Justine Fox-Young (R) – House District 30 (Albuquerque): 986-4450
  • Rep. John A. Heaton (D) – House District 55 (Eddy County): 986-4432
  • Rep. Jeff Steinborn (D) – House District 37 (Doña Ana County): 986-4248
  • Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela (D) – House District 48 (Santa Fe): 986-4318
  • Rep. Jeannette O. Wallace (R) – House District 43 (Los Alamos, Sandoval, and Santa Fe counties): 986-4452

Calls to the Governor
Some of you have been asking for the governor's telephone number. Governor Richardson can be reached at 827-3000, and it's not too late to call him and urge him to support the Health Security Act!

If you have any questions, contact Josette at 771-8763 or jhaddad@cableone.net.

To Find Your Legislator

  • Go to the legislature’s website: www.legis.state.nm.us
  • Click on “Find Your Legislator”
  • Choose “Senate” or "House" and click on “Search by Name, District or Zip Code”
  • Enter your zip code (in some areas—like Albuquerque—you may need to input the extra four digits after your zip code)
  • You can also call your county clerk.

If your representative is on the Health and Government Affairs Committee (see list above), please call and ask him or her to support House Bill 1222, the Health Security Act.

If you have relatives or friends in any of these representatives’ districts, please ask them to call their representative to urge him or her to support House Bill 1222, the Health Security Act.
These phone calls are key to passage of House Bill 1222! Thank you for calling!

If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to call your senator if he or she is on the Senate Finance Committee (see list above). Identify yourself as a constituent and ask your senator to support Senate Bill 720, the Health Security Act.

If you know people in any of these senators’ districts, please ask them to call their senator to urge him or her to support Senate Bill 720, the Health Security Act.

Constituents' phone calls really do influence our senators. Please call and encourage others to call today! Thank you for all the calls that have already been made!

February 27, 2007 at 03:09 PM in Healthcare, NM Legislature 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

URGENT: Action Needed on NM DOMA Bill NOW

Two so-called defense of marriage act bills introduced by Republicans have so far been tabled and stopped in the New Mexico legislature this year. Now a Democrat, Sen. Lidio Rainaldi of Gallup, has introduced another that will be heard today. Please use Equality New Mexico's easy to use tool to contact members of the NM Senate Public Affairs Committee NOW:

From Equality New Mexico:
We're sorry for the late notice, but at the last minute EQNM was informed that Senate Bill 816 the "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) that was introduced by Senator Lidio Rainaldi (D-Gallup) has been scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Affairs Committe TODAY at 2:30 PM!

We need your help! In order to defeat this anti-gay legislation we need as many people as possible in the committee room to show the members that a yes vote will harm our families.

With just a few clicks you can send a message to each committee member via email (or FAX if the member doesn't have a published email). Please help protect ALL New Mexico Families ... CLICK TO TAKE ACTION NOW

February 27, 2007 at 12:34 PM in Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, NM Legislature 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Latest on Fight Against Polluting Desert Rock Power Plant Tax Break Bills

DDR's Elouise Brown, Roundhouse rally 2/5/07

The latest call for action was reported at the desert-rock-blog.com on Friday. The blog is an excellent place to stay current on the quickly changing maneuvers some legislators, including some Democrats, are using to try and pass an $85 million tax break for what will be a massively polluting coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico:


Dooda Desert Rock (DDR) had such a chaotic but fearless time for the last two days, unfortunately the bill was moved forward in the Senate, but still temporarily stalled in the House.

The NM Senate Conservation passed SB 431 to Finance but, no date is set for that hearing.

HB 178 was momentarily tabled again. The sponsor volunteered a new amendment and Rep. Wirth has his amendments. The Chair of the NM House Energy Committee asked both sides to compose a substitute bill which may be heard on Wednesday, February 28, 2007.

Please continue to write letters to [and call] the following - Need your help:

2/5/07 rally photos

House Energy and Natural Resources Members:

Senate Finance Committee Members:

Contact for DDR:
Elouise Brown
President, Dooda Desert Rock

Editor's Note: Check our previous posts (links below) for more information and tracking of this issue, including Democratic Rep. Joni Gutierrez and her abrupt about face on the tax break, which resulted in the House bill being revived after it was tabled and effectively stopped. Rep. Gutierrez is being heavily criticized for her defection from environmental principles and she has so far refused to explain why she changed her mind and decided to support this horrendous tax break for a coal-fired, greenhouse gas spewing power plant that will be a major polluter of New Mexico's and the nation's air.

February 27, 2007 at 09:44 AM in Energy, Environment, Native Americans, NM Legislature 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Minimum Wage Heads to NM House Floor

The House Business and Industry Committee approved minimum wage legislation that will now move to the floor of the House for approval. Call your representative now to ask that they approve Senate Bill 324 without further amendments (see below).

SB 324 has been amended by the House to resemble the Speaker's proposal, HB 759, which will provide a wage of $7.50 on January 1, an annual cost of living increase, and preservation of munipical control to enact further minimum wage legislation. The only change to the Speaker's proposal was made yesterday in the B & I Committee, which restored the existing state exemptions to the bill. For more information, contact Matthew Henderson at nmacorn@acorn.org.

Editor's Note: If you don't know who your representative is, click here, type in your zip code and then click on the name of the legislator to visit his or her page with contact information. You can also access a listing of legislator office assignments and phone numbers here.

February 27, 2007 at 09:14 AM in Economy, Populism, NM Legislature 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 26, 2007

(Updated) Shocker: Undervote Rate Plummets in Minority Precincts After New Mexico Changes to All Paper Ballots

UPDATE 2: There's a Daily Kos diary up by Land of Enchantment that discusses the voting analysis and the poster's experiences working a precinct in Taos County, NM for the 2004 election.

UPDATE 1: This story is now getting national attention on its own merits plus its implications for the case being made by many prominent election reform advocates against Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) new Election Reform bill, HR 811. In addition, the analysis of election data uncovers another manner in which DREs might be manipulated to alter results according to the language of the voter. This begs the question of whether minority voters who used DREs in 2004 were the victims of machine manipulation that produced the high undervote counts. The data seems to raise the possibility anyway. See the front page story on The Brad Blog for more.

From VotersUnite.org:
February 26, 2007 - A new report, based on official 2004 and 2006 New Mexico election data, shows a dramatic difference in undervotes in Native American and Hispanic precincts, depending on whether they voted on paper ballots or on Direct Record Electronic (DRE — often known as touch screen) voting machines.

The report explains: "Undervotes represent ballots on which no vote was registered for a specific contest.  Undervote rates higher than 0.5% in the major contest on a ballot, especially in presidential elections, suggest that votes may not have been counted, either through a mistake of the voter or a mistake in tabulation."

The report shows that in predominantly Native American and predominantly Hispanic precincts, undervote rates were abnormally high (7.61% and 6.33% respectively) in the 2004 presidential race, when the votes were cast on DREs.

In 2006, after the state changed to all optically scanned paper ballots, the undervote rates for Governor in those same precincts plummeted by 85% in Native American areas and by 69% in predominantly Hispanic precincts.

In Anglo precincts, undervote rates of ballots cast on DREs were about the same level as the rates for paper ballots — 2.22% and 1.75% respectively.

“We were looking for any impact the change to paper ballots may have had on New Mexico’s historically high undervote rate. When we found the dramatic drop in Native American precincts, we were shocked,” said Theron Horton, Project Manager for Election Defense Alliance. “Something was going on with the DREs in those precincts in 2004.”

“When Warren Stewart, Policy Director of VoteTrustUSA, and I did the analysis of New Mexico’s 2004 vote data two years ago, we found high undervote rates in the minority precincts,” said Ellen Theisen, President of Vote-PAD, Inc. and former Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org. “But we didn't do a complete comparison of paper ballot undervotes to the DRE undervotes in that election. When I heard of Theron’s work, I performed the comparison, and found that it’s the paper ballots that made the difference in the minority precincts.”

Read the two-page report here:

Download the data here:


Ellen Theisen

Theron Horton

February 26, 2007 at 03:05 PM in Election Reform & Voting, Local Politics, Native Americans | Permalink | Comments (8)