FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jessica Collins, Strong Families New Mexico
Janna Zinzi, Forward Together
Made the Grade?
Families New Mexico’s Legislative Report Card Details Legislators Commitment to
Strengthening Families Across the State
Santa Fe, New Mexico – On Thursday, January 28, Strong Families New Mexico will launch their 2015 Legislative Report Card grading individual legislators on their support of family-friendly policies. The report card measures how local policy makers, and the policies they enact, impact New Mexico families. This analysis aims to help policymakers understand how their decisions directly affect the diverse communities across the state. It also provides an avenue for policymakers to work with local organizations to ensure that families have the rights, resources and recognition they need to thrive. Strong Families supporters will be in Santa Fe to deliver the report cards directly to their representatives today.
While the legislative season generated some improvements for New Mexico families, like creating online voter registration, expanding Medicaid for formerly incarcerated people and preventing bullying in schools, many important bills were voted down. This includes increased funding for early childhood education, sexual assault prevention, and statewide broadband infrastructure. Only four of the bills featured that strengthen families were signed into law.
“There is not just one type of family in New Mexico, our communities are very diverse,” explains Adriann Barboa, Strong Families New Mexico Field Director. “During the legislative session, we bring community members and their stories to our decision makers so they can hear firsthand what families are experiencing. Even though there were a lot of missed opportunities in 2015 to create policies that strengthen our families, we believe that legislators can be partners. That’s why this report card is so important: it’s an opportunity to build from where we agree and work toward alignment on policies that support all families in New Mexico.
The report card examines 18 pieces of legislation introduced during the 2015 legislative session that affect New Mexican families. Legislators were graded individually, along with collective grades for the House and Senate.
As the legislative session begins, the report card also features recommendations for legislators as they consider the needs of their constituents. Strong Families New Mexico asks legislators to enact policies that would support all families while addressing the families with the fewest resources. Data shows that rural families, low-income families and families of color, especially Native Americans, are most affected by policies and at the same time left out of the conversation. Therefore, it is recommended that legislators partner with community groups to create policies that reflect the needs of these families. Finally, Strong Families New Mexico offers a five question policy criteria that can be used by policymakers to determine how policies will affect the wellbeing of all families.
“This report card represents diverse families and captures the varying needs of New Mexicans as the legislature and Governor craft a very important budget for our state,” says Amber Royster, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico. "During this session, legislators will decide on a great deal of important bills. We are glad to have participated in this report card and feel hopeful that our elected leaders will heed the input of their communities.”
The full Strong Families New Mexico report card is available both online and in print. Interviews are available upon request.
Strong Families New Mexico, a state-based action site of Forward Together, works to shift culture and create policies that recognize the many kinds of families in our state. We are a network of over 15 organizations and thousands of individuals working to build a better life for all our families and generations to come. Strong Families’ vision is that every family has the rights, recognition, and resources it needs to thrive.