A government shutdown is disruptive. However, why fund the deportation of 800,000 young Americans who’ve been here since they were born? Why fund a government that ends health insurance for 9 million kids? Who can respect a government that pays for more weapons by cutting education, stifling scientific research, selling public lands and refusing to protect public health and safety? These aren’t ordinary policy squabbles; they constitute a choice between America as a decent and humane society and an America which has lost its direction and abandoned its values. The protection of innocents shouldn’t be up for debate. The moral measure of this administration and its enablers in Congress has been taken. In the budget showdown, Democrats have leverage. I say use it.
Meanwhile, regardless of the battles in Washington, we can push for legislation that improves our lives here in New Mexico. The 30 day Legislative session opens on Tuesday. Here is a short list of bills I’ll be following.
HB 16 Decriminalizes abortion
HB 17 Bans modifying semi-automatic weapons
HB 36 Reinstates the solar tax credit
HB 77 Allows a credit for solar battery storage
HB 95/ SB 39 Protects net neutrality
HJR 4 Establishes a state redistricting commission
HB 60 Raises the minimum wage
HB 64/ SB 51 Provides for funding animal spay-neuter programs
SJR2 Increases the distribution from the Land Grant Fund for early childhood education
Some important legislation will have to wait until 2019. Yesterday afternoon, a group of us listened as Dana Millen laid out a plan to provide health insurance to almost all New Mexicans which would be simpler and less expensive than the system we have. It is an audacious proposal, and I like it. Too often we try to reform what really needs to be rethought, and health insurance is a perfect example. The for-profit model has not worked. It is time to try a better approach.
Keep up the good fight. This is 2018. There will be a reckoning.