- 1 Updates
- 2 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 3 Elected Officials
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Obamacare / ACA
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
- 11 Housing/Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
- 2/23/2017: New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement that his office would continue to enforce protections for all individuals, and that no government entity should be allowed to discriminate, standing against the Trump administration's order to rescind the Obama-era policy prohibiting discrimination against transgender students in schools.
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by New Mexico lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- SB 386 raise the minimum wage of $8.25 on October 1, 2017 and then again to $9.00 on April 1, 2018.
- SB 118 / HB 204 would require candidates to release their tax returns from the past five years to appear on the state's ballot.
Harmful bills proposed by New Mexico lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- HB 79 "Blue Lives Matter" law, would include members of law enforcement in hate crime protections.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
- Governor: Susana Martinez (R), term-limited; next election 2018
- Attorney General: Hector Balderas (D), next election 2018
- Secretary of State: Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D), next election 2018
More information on state elected officials.
- Supreme Court (elected)
- Chief Justice Charles Daniels, term ends 2018
- Justice Edward Chávez, term ends 2018
- Justice Petra Jimenez Maes, term ends 2018
- Justice Barbara Vigil, term ends 2024
- Justice Judith Nakamura, term ends 2024
According to Ballotopedia, Supreme Court justices are recommended by a judicial commission, then selected by the governor; selected justices must then run in the next partisan election. Once elected, justices run as nonpartisans and must receive at least 57% of the vote to retain their seat. Terms are 8 years.
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote. Register to vote here. The deadline is 28 days before Election Day. Bring proof of identification the first time you vote. No document is required to vote.
- 2018 Senate Race: Martin Heinrich (D) is eligible to run for re-election.
- 2018 House Elections
- 2018 Gubernatorial Election (Open—term-limited Republican governor)
- Albuquerque Mayoral Election (General): October 3, 2017
- Albuquerque City Council (General): October 3, 2017
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 269,000 people in New Mexico (or 12.9% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 266,000 people (or 12.8% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/28/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.)
- The number of uninsured people in New Mexico is predicted to be 197,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 443,000, a 124.8% increase.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in New Mexico could pay up to 10% more for the same coverage, compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- New Mexico is among the many states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 19,000 jobs could be lost in New Mexico in the event of repeal. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich, who is up for reelection in 2018, voted to keep the ACA.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay strategy, young adults in New Mexico could pay $538 more in 2018.
- 77 people have been killed by police in the state of New Mexico from 2013 through 2016.
- 4% of the people killed by police were black.
- Albuquerque Police Department kills black people at a rate 7.3 times higher than the general population.
- In 2013, 10.1% of New Mexico's population was foreign-born, numbering 211,249 persons.
- In 2013, 34.4% of those immigrants were naturalized US citizens, eligible to vote.
- Unauthorized immigrants made up roughly 3.4% of the state's population, about 70,000 individuals, in 2012.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Unauthorized immigrants in New Mexico can apply for a driver's license.
- New Mexico's public universities offer in-state tuition rates to unauthorized immigrants.
- New Mexico was one of 14 states that asked a federal appeals court to enable President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order.
- Unauthorized immigrants made up roughly 4.7% of the New Mexico workforce in 2012, numbering 45,000 workers.
- Unauthorized immigrants in New Mexico paid $66.3 million in state and local taxes in 2012.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from New Mexico, the state would lose $1.8 billion in economic activity, $809.1 million in gross state product, and approximately 12,239 jobs.
County jails in New Mexico will not honor ICE detainers, and several counties in the state have similar policies.
According to State Department data, 107 individuals were resettled in New Mexico during 2016.
- New Mexico allows early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. Online voter registration is also available, and voters in New Mexico are generally not required to present identification at the polls..
- New Mexico is also one of a number of states that have introduced bills to implement automatic voter registration.
- A 2016 state law allowed 17-year-olds to register and vote in June primaries if they would turn 18 before the general election. State legislators approved the measure this year, and Gov. Susana Martinez signed it.
- In 2014, New Mexico had 15,760 incarcerated people, plus a probation population of 16,690 and parole population of 2,132.
- 3,072 people are incarcerated in private prisons in New Mexico.
- 1,053 juveniles are in custody in New Mexico.
- Of the prison population, 408 people were serving life sentences, and 0 were serving life sentences without parole.
- In New Mexico, a black person is 6.4 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person.
- Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $294 million.
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
- New Mexico residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 51,000
- Adults and children: 158,000
- Children: 94,000
- In 2015, an average of 205,540 households and 453,146 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in New Mexico. In 2011, approximately 20% of the population of New Mexico was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per New Mexico household was $269 per household and $121 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 29,364 households, including 11,586 families and 21,999 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in New Mexico was $409 in 2014. Average benefits in New Mexico have fallen in value by 31.1% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 11,952 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 8,417 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received $310.44 per person on average, for a total of $2,613,000.
- 56,300 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, New Mexico had 28 units (less than the national level) of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In New Mexico, there were 2,263 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 229 families, 214 veterans, 119 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 649 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- New Mexico received $149 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In New Mexico, more than 25,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all New Mexico households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- New Mexico's infrastructure received a score of C from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015.
- This study gave the state a “good” score for education, and identified aviation and flood control as being in “poor” condition.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 16.6% of New Mexico's bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 44% of New Mexico's roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $291 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
- According to Governor Susanna Martinez (R), changing the way in which infrastructure money is spent is a major infrastructure goal for New Mexico.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- New Mexico has six Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, five centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health-provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 66,000 women of reproductive age.
- There were 11 abortion providers in New Mexico in 2015.
- In 2014, 25.8 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in New Mexico had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
- Medical abortion is limited.
Women and Wages
- In New Mexico, 18.8% of women live in poverty. 43.9% of single mothers live in poverty, as do 12.8% of women age 65 and older.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.85, which is five cents above the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.64 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.55 for every dollar made by white men.
- One in three New Mexico women has experienced domestic violence.
- In 2013, 18,954 domestic violence incidents were reported. About 59% of the total number of domestic violence incidents are never reported to the police in New Mexico.
Religious freedom law
Religious freedom laws protect the people's right to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. A Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enacted in New Mexico in 2000 to protect religious minorities, and the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that it did not justify discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. Lawmakers introduced HB 55 in 2015, which was much broader in its exemptions, but the law was never enacted.
New Mexico lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in parenting laws, including second-parent adoption, surrogacy, prohibition of surrogacy, and laws permitting discrimination in adoption/foster placement.
New Mexico lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in education and jury selection, but has passed a nondiscrimination policy for state employees. New Mexico lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in some aspects of parenting, including second-parent adoption, surrogacy, foster care, consent to inseminate, and de facto parent recognition, but it has passed a bill granting parental presumption for same-sex couples.
Hate crime laws
New Mexico also does include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group and does have required reporting of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people.
New Mexico does not have anti-bullying laws including enumerated categories in law, enumerated model policy or cyberbullying. The state also does not require school suicide prevention policies and does not have laws promoting the inclusion of transgender youth in sports, laws protecting LGBTQ+ youth from conversion therapy, or laws addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. The state does not have LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies and does not require LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education. The state does allow gender marker changes on drivers’ licenses, but not birth certificates, but has passed transgender exclusions in State Medicaid.
Health and safety laws
New Mexico does not have nondiscrimination laws protecting the health and safety of its LGBTQ+ citizens, including nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges, a ban on insurance exclusions for trans health care, trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees, health data collection, or gender-neutral single-occupancy restrooms. New Mexico does have laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in ensuring their health and safety, such as sodomy laws and laws that criminalize HIV/AIDS.
- HIV criminalization laws are those that make it illegal for an HIV-positive person to “knowingly expose” another person to HIV—in some states, this means that it is illegal not to disclose HIV-positive status to a sex partner, but many laws criminalize behaviors that are unlikely to lead to transmission. Because the laws focus on disclosure, not actual transmission, they serve no real purpose. All states have other, non-HIV-specific laws that can be used to prosecute transmission of HIV, so these laws just needlessly single out and stigmatize HIV-positive people and reinforce the image of them as “dangerous.” It also allows the saliva or blood of an HIV-positive person to be classified in court as a “deadly weapon.” HIV criminalization laws also disproportionately target people of color, mainly Black people, and gay men.
- New Mexico is ranked 39th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $5,225 per student.
- As of 2013, New Mexico ranked 45th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $46,573 per year.
- 90% of students in New Mexico attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 69% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 6.3% of total public school enrollment.
- New Mexico's overall graduation rate is 69%. 75% of white students, 67% of Hispanic students, 62% of Black students, and 84% of Asian/Pacific Islander students graduate from high school in four years. These numbers are all well below the national averages.
Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- New Mexico has a minimum wage of $7.50.
- New Mexico has no state law for paid sick leave.
- New Mexico has no state law for paid family leave.
- New Mexico is a state with no Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can not prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- New Mexico is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- New Mexico also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- New Mexico does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- New Mexico does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted the covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- About 87% of New Mexico’s electricity generation is from fossil fuels, mostly coal.
- New Mexico has 16 sites on the National Priorities List.
- Approximately 42% of New Mexico’s land is federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black population had the highest air pollution exposure indices—of 37—compared to an overall index of 32 and a White index of 31.
- In 2012, Black adults in New Mexico were most likely to have asthma—13.5 %, compared to 9.2% overall.
- The environmental agency in New Mexico is the Environment Department. It has 22 district offices in the state, and 27% of its 2014 budget came from federal funding.
- New Mexico has a Climate Change Advisory Group, which offers policy recommendations to the governor to help meet greenhouse gas emissions goals.
- In 2007, Gov. Bill Richardson signed a law establishing renewable energy portfolio standards of 20% by 2020.
- New Mexico has the 10th-highest percentage of disabled people in America: 15.0% of New Mexico’s residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- New Mexicans with disabilities have the 9th-lowest employment rate in the country, at 30.8%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811] People without disabilities in New Mexico have a 72% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18120]
- Approximately 19.9% of eligible voters in New Mexico have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.71%.
- Of adults with disabilities in New Mexico, 33.0% live in poverty, as opposed to 17.2% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 47.9%, as opposed to 31.7% for non-disabled children.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
- In New Mexico, 6.9% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
- Retake Our Democracy is a nonprofit organization that seeks to restore democracy to the American people. See also their Facebook and Twitter: @retaketheroundhouse
Environmental and Environmental-Justice Advocacy and Organizing Groups
- New Mexico Environmental Law Center
- New Mexico Water Conservation Alliance
- New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
- Santa Fe Conservation Alliance
Local News Sources
- Alamogordo Daily News
- Albuquerque Journal
- Weekly Alibi (Albuquerque)
- Sangre de Cristo Chronicle (Angel Fire)
- Artesia Daily Press
- Valencia County News Bulletin (Belen)
- Carlsbad Current-Argus
- The Eastern New Mexico News (Clovis)
- Deming Headlight
- Rio Grande Sun (Espanola)
- Farmington Daily Times
- Gallup Independent
- Cibola Beacon (Grants)
- Grant County Beat
- Hobbs News-Sun
- Jal Record
- Las Cruces Bulletin
- Las Cruces Sun-News
- Las Vegas Optic
- Los Alamos Monitor
- Mountain View Telegraph (Moriarty)
- Roswell Daily News
- Ruidoso News
- Santa Fe New Mexican
- Santa Fe Reporter
- Sierra County Sentinel (Truth or Consequences)
- Silver City Daily Press
- Silver City Sun-News
- El Defenso Chieftain (Socorro)
- Mountain Times (Southern Sacramento Mountains)
- Taos News
- Truth or Consequences Herald
- Quay County Sun (Tucumcari)