By Camilla Feibelman, Rio Grande Chapter Director
The legislative session has ended, and we’ll provide you a full wrap-up soon. But here’s a quick summary:
Tax credits for rooftop solar passed the House yesterday and is now on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk. Another bill also spearheaded by Sen. Mimi Stewart, SB75, Prohibiting Wildlife Trafficking, also passed this week, and the governor is expected to sign both. Grid modernization, HB23
Rep. Patricia Roybal-Caballero’s community-solar bill to make solar electricity accessible and affordable to more New Mexicans failed in a vote on the House floor last week; it would have faced a rocky road in the more conservative Senate. We had high hopes for HB217 and SB2, which would have offered $2,500 tax credits for electric-car purchases (or $5,000 to those with income below $50,000), but Republicans’ hours-long filibusters prevented the bill from being heard as the clock wound down on Thursday (a vote was brought up on the House floor but ended when it was clear Republicans would take the entire three hours to debate, and there wouldn’t be time to vote before the session ended at noon). Other important memorials fell victim to the threat of Republican filibuster, including memorials opposing the transport of high-level nuclear waste to be “temporarily” stored in New Mexico, oil and gas bonding and the proposed Terrero Mine.
The 30-day budget-focused sessions seldom include much pro-environment legislation, so this has been one of the most productive, despite the frustrating outcomes for community solar and EV tax credits. We’re already thinking about and planning for next year’s 60-day session.
This is a good time to check in with your legislators to see if they are doing any wrapup events. It’s also a good time to follow them on Facebook and Twitter and get onto their email lists if you aren’t already. We’ll send out some key vote counts as well. Check here if you’re not sure who your legislator is and find out what they’re up to post-session.
Finally, I want to give a huge thanks to Brittany Fallon who represents our Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter at the session full time and throughout the year. She is incredibly intelligent, motivated and dynamic. We are so very lucky to have her. Thank you to Mona our communication director for taking complex information and making it accessible to us all. Thanks to Melinda and Pat our volunteer Legislative co-chairs who walked so many volunteers around and helped coordinate on every front! And thanks to our Legislative committee members who attended countless hearings and read countless bills. And finally thanks to each of you. We couldn’t do this without you, the voters, the constituents, the callers, the cheerleaders…You are making a difference and we’re proud to work with you.