Welcome to CVNM’s 2020 Legislative Scorecard! In even-numbered years, New Mexico has short legislative sessions that are primarily focused on the budget and revenue. This year, the budget proposal from the Governor reflected the Lujan Grisham administration’s values and priorities that were expressed through her first full year in office.
For the first time in nearly a decade, New Mexico had an opportunity backed by political will to robustly fund the budgets for agencies that protect our air, land, and water after years of deep cuts to these agencies.
CVNM, along with our allies across the state, seized the opportunity this past legislative session to ensure that the budgets for environmental regulators were prioritized by legislative leadership and that the first line of defense for the protection of our air, land, water, and communities was on a path to being properly resourced again. We were successful – and helped shore up additional resources for agencies not only to hire additional expertise, but also fully implement the landmark laws enacted in 2019: the Energy Transition Act and the Outdoor Recreation Division.
Since then, the COVID pandemic and a self-inflicted oil and gas industry price collapse has taken a significant toll on New Mexico’s communities and economy. We are now on the cusp of a recession and the legislature met in a special session to make tough choices to balance the budget through the end of the current fiscal year and in FY 2021. Luckily, we and our allies were able to convince the legislature to reduce the budgets of the environmental regulators and other conservation agencies by just 4%, which still allows for a slight increase over the funding levels of recent years.
The tumult of 2020 has had the effect of drastically reframing the conversation about the role of public policy and lawmakers. As we approach the 2021 session and beyond, New Mexico lawmakers are likely to explore new game changing ideas that have not had traction at the Roundhouse before. This makes our 2020 Conservation Scorecard a little unique. It’s a snapshot of the moment before the world as we knew it changed profoundly. We are in a moment of great transformation as a state and country. New Mexico’s 2020 primary election outcomes have fundamentally changed the makeup of our state legislature. The social and racial justice conversations sparked by the murder of George Floyd and the racial disparity in case rates and deaths from Covid-19 are reshaping the nation. Moving forward, our legislature and the laws that are enacted will look drastically different. And they must, for the sake of all of our families, communities, and the environment.
Thank you for being a Conservation Voter,
CVNM Executive Director