January 28, 2020
It’s been one whole week since the start of the 2020 state legislative session here in New Mexico, and the pace is starting to pick up. This year’s session is a short 30 days and limited mostly to budget and fiscal issues, except when the Governor has allowed specific bills by placing it on her “call.” It’s a chance to focus on the state’s investment in the wellbeing of New Mexico’s animals and the families who care about them—where we can cut costs and spend smarter, and where we need more support and resources.
To that end, Animal Protection Voters is proud to once again support legislation to create a desperately needed funding mechanism for statewide low-cost spay/neuter services for low-income families. Senate Bill 57 has been introduced by Senator Jacob Candelaria, and cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Representative Dayan Hochman-Vigil, and Representative Joanne Ferrary, and it has been referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. If your State Senator sits on either of those committees, please contact them and ask them to support this cost-saving, life-saving bill. Senate Bill 57 could be heard in the Senate Public Affairs Committee as soon as this week, so stay tuned!
Senate Bill 57 is the same measure that passed in 2018 with substantial bipartisan support in both the House and Senate but was vetoed by former Governor Martinez. This bill responds to a formal study ordered by the Senate to determine the most feasible way to fund low-cost spay/neuter services across New Mexico—and the study identified a spay/neuter funding mechanism proven to work in Maine, Maryland, and West Virginia: a modest fee on large pet food manufacturers. Once fully implemented, the bill will generate over $1.3 million for low-cost spay/neuter services for communities in the state, especially benefitting rural and low-income areas. Other states with this program have shown dramatic reductions in euthanasia, saving tax dollars on the tragic cycle of euthanasia and with no apparent impact on consumers, retail pet food shops, or pet food availability or prices (despite what some out-of-state corporate interests allege). Our fact sheet on Senate Bill 57 explains all the details.
Don’t forget that on February 13, you can help push for Senate Bill 57 by attending Animal Protection Day at the Roundhouse! Register today.
While Senate Bill 57 is Animal Protection Voters’ top focus this session, we are also pushing for a $500,000 appropriation to the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund through Senate Bill 125, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Rodriguez. The appropriation will support the critical work of licensed, regulated, and inspected horse rescues, especially those rescues that directly support the work of the State by accepting, rehabilitating, and rehoming homeless equines from the New Mexico Livestock Board. $500,000 will provide essential operating support to the only legitimate, licensed infrastructure the State can use for the care of seized and estray horses, including for feed, farrier care, veterinary care, and critical ranch hand wages. View our Senate Bill 125 fact sheet to learn more about why this funding is needed.
These aren’t the only bills we are supporting or monitoring. We’re also advocating for Senate Bill 33 to conduct a study on potential funding mechanisms for non-game wildlife conservation (which passed the Senate Conservation Committee this morning, and is onto the Senate Finance Committee), and Senate Bill 75 to crack down on international exotic and endangered wildlife trafficking (another bill that has passed but was vetoed by the previous governor).
Even during this relatively short legislative session, there are many ways in which New Mexico policymakers can impact animals—and we will be vigilant until the session ends on February 20, 2020. You can follow our work and the status of animal-related bills on our website here.
Thank you for caring, for making your important voice heard by your legislators, and for supporting Animal Protection Voters’ work to represent animals in Santa Fe! If you ever have questions about our work or pending legislation, please feel free to reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org any time.