Abortion clinic: Senate Republicans voted against a $1.2 billion capital outlay bill Wednesday over a $10 million appropriation proposed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to build a clinic near the Texas border that would perform abortions as part of its spectrum of reproductive health care.
“I believe that there are innocent human babies at risk,” said Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, who proposed an amendment to strike the appropriation, sparking a floor debate on a bill lawmakers are normally eager to support because it allows them to take money back to their districts for projects of their liking.
Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, called Sharer’s amendment to House Bill 505 “very unfriendly.”
“It removes a reproductive health care center in Doña Ana County that the governor has allocated individual funds for, and I would certainly implore this body not to support it,” Rodriguez said.
The Democrat-controlled Senate rejected Sharer’s amendment on a party-line vote and then voted to approve HB 505, also along party lines.
Final passage: The Senate late Tuesday approved a bill that would require public schools in New Mexico to stock restrooms with free menstrual products.
House Bill 134 passed the chamber 27-13 and is now headed to the governor’s desk.
The Senate also approved House Bill 207. The measure, which passed 26-10, would expand the state Human Rights Act to cover local governments, school districts and public contractors.
Another state, maybe?: Lawmakers on the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee voted 5-4 Wednesday to approve a memorial in support of granting statehood to Washington, D.C., and urging Congress to enact legislation to make that a reality.
There is a national statehood effort for D.C. — which has about 700,000 residents who do not have full representation in Congress. House Memorial 28 now goes to the House floor for a final vote. With just two days left in the session, it’s not clear if that will happen.
Rural health fund OK’d: The House unanimously approved Senate Bill 7, which would create a Rural Health Care Delivery Fund for private, nonprofit and public providers in counties with fewer than 100,000 people.
Advocates for the bill say rural health clinics need extra support to expand staffing and services.
Though the bill originally came with a $200 million appropriation, one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Liz Stefancis, D-Cerrillos, told House lawmakers earlier in the session that amount would probably drop to $80 million or $100 million.
SB 7 already has cleared the Senate and will now go to Lujan Grisham, who is expected to sign the bill.
Bestiality a crime: The House unanimously voted 65-0 to approve Senate Bill 215, which establishes the crime of committing or promoting bestiality as a fourth-degree felony.
New Mexico and West Virginia are the only states that still don’t have a law against bestiality on the books.
The Senate already approved SB 215, which now goes to the governor for her signature.
Quotes of the day: “I understand that explanation, but I hope you would agree with me that it’s nonsensical.” — Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, after Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca of Belen explained a provision in a medical malpractice bill the Senate considered Wednesday.
“You are kind of the tentacles that help every other department in the state of New Mexico.” — Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, during Wednesday’s confirmation of Robert Doucette Jr. as Cabinet secretary of the General Services Department, which has been described as the backbone of state government.