This message is from Ellen Pinnes and The Disability Coalition.
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The Legislature passed 310 bills in the 2019 session. Sixty of them were sent up to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham while the session was underway and have already been signed into law. Now she has 20 days from the end of the session to act on the remaining bills passed by the Legislature. Any bill that isn’t formally signed or vetoed by April 5 is considered vetoed by “pocket veto”.
We encourage you to contact Governor Lujan Grisham and urge her to sign bills that are important to you. Information on how to contact the governor is given at the end of this message.
The bills awaiting the governor’s action include a number that are of interest to the disability community, including:
HB 322 (Rep. Liz Thomson) – Bars health insurance companies and the Medicaid program from imposing age limits or expense caps on covered services for persons with autism. Such limits are prohibited by the federal Affordable Care Act but are still being imposed in both private insurance and the Medicaid program.
HB 364 (Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas) – Prohibits jails and prisons from placing persons known to have serious mental disabilities, or who are exhibiting obvious signs of such disabilities, in solitary confinement (“restricted housing”), with some exceptions. This prohibition would not apply during the first five days of detention. The bill also forbids use of solitary confinement for juveniles and pregnant women.
HB 436 (Rep. Liz Thomson) – Amends New Mexico law to include many of the provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, such as prohibiting denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, barring higher premiums based on a person’s disability, requiring coverage of essential health benefits, eliminating co-pays for preventive services, etc.
For a more complete list of disability-related bills passed by the 2019 Legislature, see Jim Jackson’s Post-Session Report. If you don’t have a copy of the report, it’s available on the Disability Rights New Mexico website at drnm.org. Click on “Legislative Reports” on the left side of the homepage. (For other legislation, or for additional information on the bills in Jim’s report, go to the Legislature’s website at nmlegis.gov.)
In addition to substantive bills, the governor must act on three budget bills – the big state General Appropriations Act (House Bill 2) that funds all state agencies for the next fiscal year, and the two “junior” bills (HB 548 and SB 536) through which individual senators and representatives were able to allocate sums of money to their preferred programs. Information about specific appropriations in the budget bills is also included in Jim’s Post-Session Report.
For appropriations bills like these, the governor can choose to make “line-item vetoes” by crossing out particular language in the bill while signing the rest of it into law. If you support particular provisions in HB 2, HB 548 and SB 536, you should contact Governor Lujan Grisham and ask her to keep those provisions in the bill.
You can contact the governor—
By phone: Call her office at 505-476-2200 and leave a message.
By email: Go to her website, www.governor.state.nm.us. Click on “Contact” in the upper right corner of the page, then on “Contact the governor” in the drop-down menu. Fill out the form that comes up on the screen and click “Send Email” to complete the process.
By mail to:
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
State Capitol – Room 400
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Remember, the governor has until April 5 to sign or veto bills, but she can act on them at any time during that period. So if these measures are important to you, don’t delay!
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The Disability Coalition is administered by Disability Rights New Mexico and is funded in part by
the New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council through Federal Program funding.
Additional funding is provided by The Arc of New Mexico,
the Independent Living Resource Center, New Vistas and DRNM.
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