Created: June 20, 2020 06:46 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The state Senate adjourned after passing a modified state budget Saturday that aims to remedy the financial shortfalls caused by COVID-19.
The budget includes about $787 million from the federal government.
State senators also voted to establish a New Mexico Civil Rights Commission that would allow legal and law enforcement experts would make recommendations to reform current policies and help protect the civil rights of New Mexicans.
The bill is now headed back to the House where Rep. Roybal Caballero (D-District 13) is also pushing a bill that aims to address institutional racism.
A similar bill was introduced in 2017, but former Gov. Martinez vetoed it.
“We feel that by trying to disrupt the mindset of racism that you need to do that with offsetting it with what we believe is historical foundations and the historical foundations actually set the tone for educating and informing the public on the importance of the histories of colonization colonialism—all that have contributed to racist behaviors and practices,” Rep. Roybal Caballero said.
The bill introduced this year would require state agencies and those receiving state funding to develop policies that decrease institutional racism by address hiring practices, promotions and retention practices.
"The key in moving into where we are today, is the fact that we're faced with the country in chaos,” she added.
The House also discussed election changes during the Saturday session. That includes sending absentee ballots to all registered voters and allowing independent voters to declare a party to vote in the primaries.
“Taking down the barriers to bring in people who should vote is not an expense, so the expense that we hear about are candidates concerned about the expense they'll have to spend to reach out to individuals not in their party,” said Rep. Linda Trujillo (D-District 48).
“I would love to see this body start to talk about our election law and I think that as we create task forces or election legislation, I don't think these things should even require a simple majority. I think they should have a super majority,” said Rep Gregg Schmedes (R-District 22).
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