By Bill Jordan
Feb. 21, 2024

Another legislative session is behind us and while this was budget-only, 30-day session, there is still plenty to celebrate. The big wins for families and children include:

  • The new budget (HB 2) continues big investments in early education, K-12, higher education, workforce training, health care, housing and protecting our precious environment. (Read more about the budget here.)
  • Thanks to this year’s omnibus tax bill (HB 252), working families will get a personal income tax cut and the very rich will finally have to pay a fair tax rate on their investment income. The bill also includes credits to spur the purchase of EVs, solar panels, and other clean energy products.
  • Lawmakers stepped up to make new historic investments in cleaner energy to address climate change, including HB 41, which gives the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) the necessary authority to draft and enforce a statewide clean transportation fuel standard, and HB 177, which creates a match fund to leverage federal funding opportunities for clean energy jobs and infrastructure.
  • The stranglehold of the gun lobby was again broken to put public health and safety above special interests by passing a couple of firearm safety laws. HB 129 puts in place a 7-day waiting period for purchasing a firearm, which should help cut down on suicides, and SB 5 bans firearms from being carried in or near polling places.
  • Several improvements were made to improve health care affordability. The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (HB 33) requires manufacturers, insurers, and pharmacies to annually report prescription drug prices. The Health Care Affordability Fund Distribution (HB 7) stabilizes the fund, which provides an avenue for low-cost health insurance for both individuals and small businesses who buy their insurance through the Health Insurance Exchange.

With all these advances, there is still more to do. We hope you’ll join us next year in demanding that lawmakers pass a Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (like SB 3), pass tougher gun safety laws, establish a Tribal Education Fund (like HB 134), do more to protect our health and environment from pollution by the mining industry (like HB 133), and help our communities adapt and respond to more frequent extreme weather events as a result of a changing climate (like HB 104).

As always, we give a big THANK YOU to all the legislators who worked so diligently to pass legislation that will make New Mexico a better place in which to grow up and to raise a family. Another big thanks to all of you who helped make this 2024 legislative session another successful one for New Mexico’s children and families by answering our calls to action! Every time you contact your legislators to let them know how you would like them to vote, you help them move important legislation along. If you didn’t receive our eVoices and Action Alert emails but would like to, please sign up using the blue box on the right-hand side of our website.

Bill Jordan, MA, is Interim Co-Director and Government Relations Officer for New Mexico Voices for Children.