Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Putting a Priority on Human Needs at the New Mexico State Legislature

Today is the first day of the 60-day session for the 2013 New Mexico State Legislature, and there will be many interests competing for the attention of our elected representatives.

Some of these interests represent industry groups or corporations.  But who speaks out for our low-income families, our children,  our family farmers?  Who puts a priority on school meals, the needs of the homeless, tax fairness?

Fortunately, a handful of groups are up in Santa Fe for that very purpose, including  the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry New MexicoNew Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council and Farm to TableNew Mexico Voices for Children, the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, the New Mexico Conference of Churches, the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, and the New Mexico Association of Food Banks.

A handful of  these groups have listed their legislative and/or policy priorities for this year, and we are sharing them with you below.  Some of these organizations also advocate on other issues, but these are the most relevant to our work. 

- Lutheran Advocacy Ministry New Mexico

1. Hunger
  • Funding for the state SNAP supplement program
  • Efforts to close New Mexico’s food gap
  • Funding for food banks statewide
2. Affordable Housing & Homelessness
  • Programs that assist children & adults experiencing homelessness
3. Family-Sustaining Income
  • Policies and programs that assist people living in poverty to work toward family-sustaining income 
4.  Tax Policy 
  • Tax policy that is fair & provides stable, necessary & adequate revenue to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our state 
  • Effective oversight & review of state tax credits, exemptions & incentives 
5. Immigration 
  • Comprehensive immigration reform advocated by the Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service 
6,  Health Care
  • Effective implementation of federal health care reform in New Mexico including Medicaid coverage for adults with income of less than 138% of the FPL beginning in 2014. 
  • Maintaining Medicaid coverage &amp benefits for low-income children & adults currently eligible.
- New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council/Farm to Table

These related organizations will be highlighting New Mexico farmers, local food entrepreneurs, and farmers markets; as well as local farm-to-school programs and other projects that provide healthy food options for New Mexico residents.

A number of initiatives are underway to increase market opportunities for growers while providing healthy food options to New Mexico residents. The collective focus will be on:
  • Food Access
  • Production
  • Distribution
SB 80: NM Grown Produce for School Meals
HB 56: Statewide Cohesive Food Infrastructure
Promote and Develop Farmers' Markets

- New Mexico Voices for Children
2013 Priority Policy Agenda  
  • Tax Fairness and Budget Adequacy
  • Education and Early Learning/Care
  • Healthy and Safe Communities
  • Racial/Ethnic Equity and Civic Participation
  • Economic Security and Prosperity 
(Click here for detailed explanation)

- New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness  
Tier 1 Priorities Include: 
  • Increase state funding by $1 million for services that help people experiencing homelessness obtain and remain in housing 
  • Address administrative and regulatory barriers that make it difficult for people experiencing homelessness to access housing and services 
  • Target existing housing and services resources so that they are being used as effectively as possible to reduce and prevent homelessness.
See full 2012-2013 Advocacy Agenda

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