House Democrats Outline 2015 Legislative Priorities
On Monday, January 19, 2015, House Democrats appeared together at the South Valley Economic Development Center to highlight their priorities for the 60-day legislative session.
We are committed to fighting for New Mexicans by making sure our families have the opportunities to thrive and our small businesses have the resources to they need to succeed.
From raising the minimum wage to putting caps on interest rates for payday lending, House Democrats will fight to level the playing field for hard working New Mexicans and give them a fair shot in our competitive economy.
The House Democrats' new floor leader, Rep. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe, said his party would rebut Republican attempts to hold down an increase in the minimum wage.
Egolf said House Democrats favor Santa Fe Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela's bill to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.50. Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces already have established higher minimum wages than the state's.
Democrats will also fight for bills to limit class sizes and reduce standardized testing in public schools instead of supporting education reform that will force our children to be held back.
Rep. Georgene Louis, D-Albuquerque, said she was a teenage mother on Acoma Pueblo, a tough start.
"Education saved me," said Louis, now 37 and an attorney. "The opposition values testing over teaching, and that's not what we're about."
Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, has introduced a bill enabling parents to withdraw their children from certain tests now mandated by the state. A teacher, Garcia Richard also has filed a proposed constitutional amendment to limit class sizes. She said House Democrats want available money spent in classrooms, "not testing and testing companies."
Democrats will oppose legislation that would hurt New Mexican families and workers. So-called “right to work” legislation makes it easier for out-of-state corporations to rig the system at the expense of New Mexico’s working families.
Democrats are also opposed to the repeal of a law that allows state residents without proof of immigration status to obtain a New Mexico driver's license. We know that when our immigrant parents have a valid driver’s license, they have the security to go to work and get their kids to school, and it increases public safety by minimizing unlicensed and uninsured motorists.
Too many New Mexicans don’t feel secure in their ability to pay their mortgage or rent at the end of the month, to send their kids to college, or to provide for their families even though they've worked hard and played by the rules their entire lives.
Every New Mexican – not just those at the top – deserves a fair shot at success and a secure future.
Our focus is bringing security and opportunity to the average New Mexican family. Our families work hard, and they deserve a chance at the future they dream of.