Thursday, December 2, 2021

These Are the Important Legislative Issues in NM and AZ in 2021

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Suzanne Hammonshttp://dioceseofgallup.org
Suzanne Hammons is the editor of the Voice of the Southwest and the media coordinator for the Diocese of Gallup. A graduate of Benedictine College in Kansas, she joined the Diocesan staff in 2012.

Important Legislative Items in New Mexico

The New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops (NMCCB) are aware that there are hundreds of bills of proposed legislation.  The Bishops bring their voice on issues for the common good, thereby making public their opinion on some legislation.  The following is the Legislative Agenda for the 2021 Legislature.

Find and contact your legislator here to voice your opinions on these issues.

OPPOSE SB10, the Repeal of the Abortion Ban Statute. This legislation proposes to take off the state books a law, now suppressed by the US Supreme Court’s ruling of Roe vs. Wade, which outlawed abortion in the state of New Mexico. The removal of this Statute has two other affects about which we should be very concerned which are not suppressed by Roe vs. Wade. First, the Statute today guarantees freedom of conscience for medical providers to not be forced to participate in abortions (religious right). Second, the Statute has exceptions to the law and, when there is an abortion under an exception, all procedures are required to be performed by a physician. We hope these remain in the law.

OPPOSE HB47, the Life Options Act. This legislation can place vulnerable persons in the position of losing their life due to human error or coercion. The determination for the diagnosis of days of life remaining has a high rate of inaccuracy. In the same way that we oppose the death penalty, human error is not acceptable, thereby rendering the Act of Assisted Suicide unethical.

OPPOSE the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana. The state of New Mexico is entrenched in poverty and addictions. There is great concern about persons driving under the influence and concern about adults parenting while under the influence.

SUPPORT SB66, the Small Loan Act to Cap the Annual Percentage Rate. This legislation proposes to lower the interest rate of small loans from 175% to 36%. This will have a positive impact for struggling New Mexicans trying to pay debt and will protect the public from predatory lending.

SUPPORT HJR1, the Constitutional Amendment to use 1% of the Land Grant Permanent Fund for Early Childhood programs. Science has shown that the investment in programs for families and children from prenatal to 5 years old have extremely good benefits for the wellbeing of the children and life-long positive health outcomes.  New Mexico’s youngest children continue to rank 49th-50th in overall children’s wellbeing.  The status quo is not acceptable.

Important Legislative Items in Arizona

 Find and contact your Arizona representative here to voice your opinions on these matters.

The 2021 Arizona legislative session has just begun with the usual flurry of bills being introduced on almost every subject imaginable.  What is not usual, however, are the circumstances surrounding this legislative session.

Because of concerns about the pandemic as well as potential violence, the Arizona Capitol has essentially been fenced off.  Committee hearings are continuing for now, with much being done virtually.  Visitors have been severely limited in the buildings, which is also far from business as usual.

The Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC), meanwhile, has been actively engaged with legislative leaders and others.  As always, we will continue to monitor all legislation as it impacts the Catholic Church and are working to shape very positive legislation this year.

The past week saw some significant movement on positive legislation supported by the ACC.  Among these measures was a pro-life proposal to replace statutory references of the term “product of human conception” with the term “unborn child” (SB 1022). Thankfully, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved this measure which should move to the floor relatively soon.

A helpful school choice bill (SB 1041) was also advanced this week by the Senate Finance Committee. SB 1041 would substantially increase the maximum amount of the Lexie’s Law Corporate Tuition Tax Credit for displaced or disabled students. This particular tax credit has not been increased since it was approved over a decade ago, which makes this bill long overdue.

Finally, while there is also a lot of other activity going on, it is worth noting that many problematic pieces of legislation continue to be introduced as happens every year. Efforts to weaken our strong pro-life and school choice laws are among these bills as well as another terribly misguided proposal to violate the Seal of Confession.  It is worth noting, however, that none of these bills are moving and the ACC always makes it a top priority to make sure they never become law.

If you have not already done so, please be sure to sign up for important updates by going to www.azcatholicconference.org.

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