February 20, 2020
The last week of the 2020 state legislative session was a whirlwind, and today at noon it came to a close—but not before some ground-breaking progress for New Mexico’s animals was made.
During a short 30-day session, a bill’s only hope is if it moves quickly. Senate Bill 57, the affordable spay/neuter bill, only had 5 days to cross the finish line after being heard in—and passing!—the Senate Finance Committee. And thanks to the amazing energy, determination, stamina and skill of the bill’s sponsors—as well as House and Senate leadership—the bill passed the State Senate on February 15 (with a 27-14 vote), and then it passed the State House of Representatives yesterday, on February 19 (with a 39-22 vote)…. with just 17 hours left in the session. Phew! Here is the Senate vote count and the House vote count (note: we’re confident that all of the “absent” votes in the House would have been “yes” votes, based on their pledges and previous records, but several legislators did not realize the the vote was about to come up when they went to retrieve dinner being served in an adjacent room!).
Please help us thank key legislators who made this win possible.
The following wonderful Senators and Representatives deserve to receive messages expressing your gratitude for their actions to ensure SB 57 passed the Legislature, to aid struggling families and reduce needless shelter animal euthanasia:
- Bill sponsor Sen. Jacob Candelaria – email / Facebook
- Bill sponsor Rep. Joanne Ferrary – email / Facebook
- Bill cosponsor Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil – email / Facebook
- Bill cosponsor Sen. Majority Leader Peter Wirth – email
- House Speaker Rep. Brian Egolf, for hearing the bill on the House floor in the final days of the session – email / Facebook
In addition to this phenomenal support from Democratic legislators, several Republican legislators contributed meaningfully to broad, well-rounded support for the bill. They not only personally supported the bill, but they also vocally expressed their sound reasoning for their vote during bill debate or added credibility to the measure among colleagues, with an emphasis on fiscal responsibility and the moral calling to do what’s right. Please send them your gratitude as well:
- Sen. Gay Kernan – email
- Sen. Steven Neville – email
- Rep. Jason Harper – email / Facebook
- Rep. Gail Armstrong – email / Facebook
We at Animal Protection Voters are SO appreciative of your support and all the ways, big and small, you helped this important legislation pass. New Mexico is set to become the 4th state in the country to adopt this approach to reduce companion animal homelessness and euthanasia. We are so excited to see the life-saving, cost-saving results….
BUT Senate Bill 57 is not law yet. We still need Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign the bill.
Over the coming days, please contact her office and get out the word to your communities, to ask the Governor to sign Senate Bill 57 into law. There is a form that will allow you to do that on our website: www.saveNMpets.org – or call her office at (505) 476-2200.
Beyond the success of crucial spay/neuter legislation, more good news came in the form of the passage of Senate Bill 75, the Wildlife Trafficking Act, which will ban illegal trade of exotic and endangered wildlife parts and products in order to bolster enforcement against these crimes. New Mexico must play our role in cracking down on the trafficking of items like elephant ivory, rhinoceros horns, and shark fins. We are grateful to bill sponsors Sen. Mimi Stewart (thank her) and Rep. Gail Chasey (thank her, too) for their steadfast championship of this conservation bill over several years. Please ask the Governor to sign the Wildlife Trafficking Act as well!
Unfortunately, at this point, appropriations from Senate Bill 125 ($500,000 appropriation to the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund) and Senate Bill 33 ($200,000 appropriation for a study of non-game wildlife species conservation funding sources) do not appear to have been included in the annual budget approved by the Legislature. We are particularly disappointed that no money was included for the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund, to fund New Mexico’s ten non-profit equine shelters that take in the state’s homeless horses while receiving no regular financial support from the state. It serves as a perfect example that general fund appropriations for animal protection causes are too rare, and that’s why we have fought for a new, dedicated funding source for low-cost spay/neuter. Even in a year of robust revenues, there are so many competing interests and other starved causes, but we know SB 125 sponsor Sen. Nancy Rodriguez did her best (email her your thanks). Animal Protection Voters is already discussing next steps for how we can help shape the future and secure more resources for the essential but precarious safety net that equine rescue organizations provide.
And after all, we have a lot to celebrate. A long-time supporter and expert in animal sheltering and spay/neuter had this to say about Senate Bill 57’s passage:
“This is a breathtaking milestone. It signifies New Mexico’s transformation to a primarily proactive approach to dog and cat overpopulation—based on science, rational professionalism, and a humane vision. Animal Protection Voters did this.”
As you know, YOU ARE Animal Protection Voters! Thank you for being part of this monumental win for the animals!