Monday, March 20, 2017

State Legislature Eliminates SNAP Supplement, Raises Minimum Wage

Below are summaries from the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico and the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy on the outcomes of important legislation on poverty, hunger and food issues during the recently concluded 60-day Session.

From LAM-New Mexico
(via Ruth Hoffman)
HB2, the bill that outlines the state budget, is on the governor's desk for signature. Gov. Martinez has said that she will veto HB2 along with HB202 which would enact a number of revenue proposals to balance the state budget. That action would mean that a special session would be needed.

The legislature's recommended budget eliminated $1.2 million needed to fund the State SNAP Supplement program which serves about 12,000 seniors and increases their minimum federal benefit of $16 to $25 per month.

It is very important that New Mexico have tax policy that is fair and provides stable, sustainable & adequate revenue to meet the needs of our state, particularly the most vulnerable.

Affordable Housing & Homelessness
Funding for programs that serve people experiencing homelessness must be protected from cuts and expanded. HB2 does not include any cuts to current funding for programs that serve people experiencing homelessness but also does not include any increases in funding for these programs.

Minimum wage:
Bills to increase the state minimum wage from its current level of $7.50 per hour have been introduced: HB27 (Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero) would have raised the minimum wage to $15. HB67 (Rep. Miguel Garcia) would have phases-in increases to a total $10.10 by 2020. HB27 & HB67 died in committee.

HB442 (Reps. Rodella, Egolf, Carl Trujillo, Ruiloba & Miguel Garcia)would raise the minimum wage to $9.25, would increase the tip wage to 40% of the minimum wage, and has been amended to only preempt local governments from enacting ordinances regarding advance scheduling. HB442 has passed the House and the Senate and heads to the governor's desk.

SB36 (Sen. Bill Soules) would have raised the minimum wage to $8.45 with cost of living increases. SB36 died on the Senate Floor.

SB386 (Sen. Clemente Sanchez) would phase in an increase in the minimum wage to $9, passed the Senate and House and heads to the governor's desk.

From the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council
(from Pam Roy)
HB387, Repeal of Fees for the Organic Certification Program Sponsored by Representative Bill Gomez This bill passed passed the full House of Representatives and Senate on March 16 and goes to the Governor for her signature. Thanks to the NM Department of Agriculture, Siete del Norte and NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council for great team work in this last stretch!

HB289, as amended, Agriculture in Economic Development Act
Sponsored by Representatives Sweetser, Small, and Gomez This bill was passed by the House Committees and Senate and goes to the Governor to be signed. The Act utilizes the combined expertise and resources of the Economic Development Department (EDD) and the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA) in helping fund certain economic development projects and adds agriculture enterprises and value added agriculture products to the list to be supported.

SM87, Demise of Rural Grocery Stores Study
Sponsored by Senator Stefanics This bill was for passage by the full Senate last night and goes to the Governor for approval.

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