JOIN INDIVISIBLE SANTA FE AND TAKE ACTION
Letter by Coalition to Senator Heinrich
Dear Senator Heinrich:
We represent a consortium of Indivisible chapters, Democratic groups, and other progressive organizations from across New Mexico. We are writing to request clarification of your position on eliminating or reforming the Senate filibuster rule. Although some of us discussed this issue with your staff last week during our monthly Indivisible group call, we remain unclear as to exactly what your official position is on this important issue. We understand that some Democrats see the elimination of the filibuster as a double-edged sword that could potentially come back to bite us if the GOP regains control of the Senate. We, on the other hand, see this tool continually used in a way to thwart the will of a democratically-elected government and to give almost insurmountable power to a minority who are opposed to any significant change. Common application of this rule has created a de facto supermajority requirement to pass much legislation in the Senate. The filibuster rule, and what it applies to, has been modified numerous times in the past, most recently in 2017, to allow for Senate confirmation of Supreme Court justices by a mere majority vote. As you also know, there are quite a few bills, some involving major legislation, that are able to avoid the filibuster rule as they are debated and voted on in the Senate. To us it is clear that, with more and more exceptions to the way the rule is applied, the elimination of the rule entirely is on the horizon. For these reasons as well as many others not elucidated here we support the view that the filibuster should be eliminated now, or, at a minimum, significantly reformed. We hope that you support that position as well, but if not, we would like a clear explanation of what your position is on this. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for all of us, and for taking the time to respond to this letter.
Sandoval County Indivisible
Sandoval County Federation of Democratic Women
Indivisible Sierra County
Indivisible Duke City
Indivisible Nob Hill
Indivisible SOS Santa Fe
Rio Grande Indivisible
Indivisible Santa Fe
Progressive Democrats of America Central NM Chapter
Indivisible Las Cruces
Wheeler Peak Progressives
Members of Indivisible Santa Fe have published more than 22 letters to the editor and op-ed pieces in the Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican since September.
Here is a recent letter in New Mexican by Ricann Bock
Community solar will benefit renters, homeowners and landlords as it accelerates our transition to a carbon-neutral New Mexico. I commend the Legislature and all the various participants and stakeholders who studied, talked and found compromise, resulting in this bill. And thanks to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who signed this legislation Monday.
Here is a recent letter in New Mexican by Donna Thiersch
I see our newly elected Senator Ben Ray Lujan has been busy in the senate He is co-signer for the SB51 Washington, D.C. Admission Act, for citizens to have equitable access to the decisions made that affect their lives in Washington D.C. He voted in congress last year to impeach the former president and recently in the Senate voted to convict. I am also encouraged that he may also be supportive for the Filibuster Reform in the Senate as we all want meaningful legislation for our Nation. Although Santa Fe has a higher minimum wage then most of the counties in New Mexico, I believe it’s critical in the fight for working families that we legislate an increase to a $15.00 minimum wage. Senator Ben Ray Lujan is in the position to support this reform.
Here is a recent letter in the New Mexican by Pam Walker
Cover the trash loads
Regarding roadside litter: I recently spent a couple of nights in Albuquerque, driving from Santa Fe and back. On both legs of the trip, I first noticed more roadside litter than I’ve ever seen, and wondered about the sources of the littering and the lack of cleanup by the state or other political entities responsible. Then I noticed a number of large dump trucks, ones longer than wide, hauling trash but not securely covering their loads. Trash bags and loose trash came flying out of the truck beds. I was afraid of a collision with a large load, especially those containing glass that might puncture my tires. Aren’t there state regulations about covering loads, whether trash or other stuff? If there aren’t, why not? And if there are, what are the problems with enforcement? Roadside litter results from individual irresponsibility, for sure, but what about governmental responsibility or the lack of?
Here is a recent letter in the New Mexican by Alexa Bradford
Misses the point
I believe Paul Gessing misunderstands the intent of Senate Bill 66 (“High-interest loans have a purpose,” My View, March 8). SB 66 is not “eliminating needed financial options for working people.” It merely caps the legal interest rate for the industry at 36 percent.
Payday loans are a form of predatory lending and are not “quality credit” options. They are usurious and abusive, and frequently trap borrowers in an even deeper cycle of poverty. Gessing unfairly excoriates legislators for “passing judgment on people of lesser means.” On the contrary, it appears SB 66 is intended to protect our most vulnerable citizens from legalized financial abuse.
Here is recent letter in New Mexican by Patti LaSalle Hopkins.
Be hopeful, with caution
As our nation surpassed the tragic milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, numerous other issues captured and competed for our attention. President Joe Biden was wise and thoughtful in leading us to rise above the distractions and pay homage to the deceased and their families. At a White House ceremony, he said, “To heal, we must remember.” We must also remember this: The best way to pay tribute is to pay attention. Experts caution that pandemic progress is fragile, threatened by variant strains as we struggle through its first lethal incursion. Progress with vaccinations does not negate the necessity to wear masks, socially distance and avoid crowds.
Yet here we are on the brink of spring break, when young adults in particular will be tempted to break out of social isolation and flirt with risk. Here in New Mexico, reopenings hold the promise of spring’s reawakening of our everyday lives. But let’s remember. Let’s pledge allegiance to caution and care, even in the light of new hope.
Here is a recent letter by Donna Thiersch
Celebrate and support
This week we must celebrate and support one of our own, U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland as her nomination hearing for the secretary of the Department of the Interior starts Tuesday. The United States has had a long, untenable history with Native Americans. The historical treatment of Native Americans was so mercilessly institutionalized. While the current relationship is bankrupted, fueled by greed and contempt for tribal nations in their own backyards, the future relationships will depend on us acknowledging the broken treaties and ignoring all promises made to Native Americans here in the United States. It is long overdue having a Cabinet leader that can represent broad oversight of tribal affairs and energy development. The future is promising with Deb Haaland, who will have a voice in amending the deceit which has so long plagued us in the United States.
Here is a recent letter by Stephanie Mendez called "Hardly Unity"
In another jaw-dropping, hypocritical message by members of the Republican Party, members have accused Democrats of sabotaging the country’s unity by holding an impeachment trial in the Senate. It’s amazing Republicans would criticize Democrats for sabotaging unity when they can’t even unify the divisiveness in their own ranks. The most recent example is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s record of denying that mass school shootings are real and being rewarded with a seat on the House Education Committee. Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney voices her opinion about the insurrection at the Capitol and faces chastisement by her colleagues. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is leading the charge against Cheney by going to Wyoming to hold rallies against her. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he is going to punish Greene with a “talking to.”
Well, that should unify the party and the country.
Here is link to op/ed/Commentary by Patricia LaSalle-Hopkins in the New Mexican:
Here is link to an article by Jim Hopkins.
Another letter by Donna Thiersch in the New Mexican 1/26/21: text below.
Stop private prisons
I am writing to ask state legislators to support House Bill 40, the Private Detention Facilities Moratorium Act.
This is legislation that will prohibit the operation and management of detention facilities by private contractors in New Mexico. Our Public Employees Retirement Association has moved to divest from private prison funds.
This matters so dearly to me and our group, Indivisible Santa Fe, because I volunteered in Albuquerque during the busing of immigrants to sponsors around the states. It was so heartbreaking to see the condition these immigrants were, especially their trauma.
Vote for people over profits and support HB 40, the Private Detention Facilities Moratorium Act.
I cannot support the continued abuse of the filibuster in the United States Senate. This procedural tactic was created to encourage debate and bipartisan deliberation. But in current practice, it has proven to achieve the complete opposite. The roadblock created by the filibuster has prevented the Senate from taking up meaningful action or even debate on so many important issues--at the detriment of the American people.
The filibuster is not what some folks might imagine it to be based on movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. In today's Senate, if one senator just threatens to use the filibuster, popular legislation that has majority support--but not 60 out of 100 votes--dies without any debate. We must change this. The filibuster should be abolished or, at the very least, reformed to force senators who have objections to physically hold the floor to extend debate and tell the American people why they are standing in the way of the Senate's consideration of a bill.
Too often in our nation's history, the filibuster has been used to block our country's continued march toward equality. It was the favored tactic of segregationist Southern senators who banded together as a minority in the Senate to block civil rights, voting rights, and anti-lynching laws in the era of Jim Crow. Today, the filibuster remains the obstacle standing in the way of the Senate passing immigration reform, climate legislation, gun safety measures, and protections for LGBTQ Americans.
Right now, Georgia state legislators are attempting to pass laws that would prevent Black voters from participating in our elections. Let's call this what it is: a racist attempt to steal future elections. We have the legislation to stop this. The House of Representatives has already passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which would strengthen ethics and campaign finance laws and restore voting rights to Americans targeted by efforts like those in Georgia. We will never be able to pass this important bill to strengthen our democracy until the Senate reforms or abolishes the filibuster.
This is not an arcane or abstract debate over rules. It has real consequences on people's lives. If the Senate wants to become a legislative body that delivers for the American people, it needs to finally confront the filibuster.
United States Senator