March 2, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Greetings from the State Capitol, where we are more than halfway through the 2015 legislative session. I'm writing early this year to invite your input and ideas in the face of great challenges - for example, the drastic reduction in new revenues due to declining oil prices, the change in leadership in the House of Representatives, and genuine differences of philosophy about how best to support our public schools and protect middle class families.

I have already heard from many of you about issues of interest. Educators express grave concerns about the burden placed on children, their families, teachers, and administrators by the increasing requirements for standardized testing. They tell me this practice fails to help students develop critical thinking skills, takes the joy out of learning, and actually interferes with their ability to provide high quality education. As a parent and former teacher, I share their concerns.

Many have expressed opposition to two bills that would limit access to abortion, one of which would impose a ban after 20 weeks. It is the exact duplicate of the measure Albuquerque voters overwhelmingly defeated in 2013. Like all who have contacted me, I trust women to make their own health care decisions. I've also heard from many about the Right to Work bill. I stand with the vast majority of you, in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters. We need good jobs and an increase in the minimum wage, not attacks on families' economic security.

Here are some of the bills I am sponsoring:

HB 36 -would cap interest rates on consumer loans at 36%, a measure favored by 86% of voters. See my Facebook page, NM State Representative Gail Chasey, to read my op-ed and other pieces that explain it fully. This bill is presently tabled in a committee, largely due to the power and influence of predatory lenders, 75% of whom are out-of-state corporations.

HB 37- Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act- has passed two committees, but must survive a third before making it to the House floor.

HB 269 - Family Support Services -would require CYFD to take an evidence-based approach to abuse and neglect cases, and to focus more on the prevention of child abuse.  Although CYFD opposition led to its being tabled in its first committee, I don't plan to give up.

Please let me hear your views, so that I can serve you better. Check Facebook, email me or call me here at the Capitol at 505.986.4442. You may also follow the work of the House Democrats to improve the lives of children and families at NMHouseDems.com. There, you can also register to vote, update your voter information, or leave me a message. Thank you, as always, for the privilege and honor of serving you.