Saturday, March 21, 2009

Call for information

One of the things I want to get ready for the next time around is a database of names, addresses, and especially phone numbers for those who are helping us in this effort. 

It is frustrating to me to have no fast and sure method of contacting people to get the word out to call specific legislators when something is happening. Things happen SO fast during the session; even the difference of a day can have a huge effect on the outcome. Can you imagine if we could have had a bank of callers on the phone Friday morning to Senator McSorley or Senator Lopez (get out of your office!)? We could have been out of SJC in time to be heard on the Senate floor this time. 

So here's my request . . . If you are interested in helping, please email me your information (name, address, email, and probably most importantly, phone numbers) so that I can add you to a database or phone bank. Send it to I have no intention to and promise not to sell or share your information with anyone else except as it relates specifically to our efforts to pass the MISSing Angels Bill in New Mexico. (Though I recognize that none of us live in a bubble, so if you wish to be a part of a similar database to help other states, please let me know.)

We have plans to start meeting every other month to discuss strategy and actions. If you wish to be included in those meetings, please let me know that as well.

Chaos and Sadness

If you haven't already figured it out, the end of a legislative session is absolute chaos for everyone.

My last report was Thursday. We were waiting to be heard in Senate Judiciary. Expecting to go back to Santa Fe on Friday.

I went back on Friday morning, bright and early. SJC was supposed to meet at 9 am. For one reason or another they could not manage to come up with a quorum for the morning meeting. Then they were all called to the Senate floor, at which point I went to Rep. Gardner's office to wait it out. I was told they might meet again if they got a recess. I don't know if they ever did meet again. 

Around 1 p.m. Rep. Gardner came to me and said it was unlikely to get out of SJC. Sen. McSorley didn't want to put it on a consent calendar. The committee was unlikely to meet again or actually get anything done if they did. More political tit-for-tat going on. There was a chance, a very slim chance, that we could get it withdrawn from the committee to the senate floor. It was time for me to go home. There was nothing more I could do; it was all up to Rep. Gardner.

So I went home . . . in tears. We didn't quite let go of all of our hope, but the bill looked all but dead. Rep. Gardner, a bit later in the day, said he was still working on it and that he would work on it until the very end. I know they went late in the night.

This morning I contacted him expecting to hear that nothing had changed. Instead he wrote back that he had gotten it out of SJC (it was withdrawn) and that it was on the Senate floor. It would take a miracle to get it heard, but if it were heard it would be the last item heard before the end of the session.

Thanks to the wonder of technology, we were able to listen to the Senate when they did NOT hear our bill, but instead closed the session without hearing it. (Though if you listened carefully, you could hear someone call out "what about Gardner's bill?" right as they were discussing whether to adjourn. And really they had the few minutes that it would have taken to hear it, someone just pushed for the close instead.)

So I'm sad and sorry to report that we failed again this year. Petty politics got in the way again, but in a different arena this time--the Senate instead of the Governor's office.

We are not going anywhere though! We will be back. Our hope is to get it in next year, but that is tricky. As you may know, sessions in even-numbered years are short. 30 days short. On top of that, bills have to be "germane," meaning they have to be important in the state budget. The only other way to get heard in a short session is to have a message from the governor. I am going to ask Rep. Gardner if calls from citizens can help get a message for the short session. If you can call the governor's office and help with this effort, I will let you know.

Thank you all for your efforts. And a huge thank you to Rep. Keith Gardner; we could not ask for a more dedicated or hard-working sponsor. We'll get it done next time!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back and Forth and Back Again

Let's see . . . the last few days have been totally chaotic, and that is putting it mildly.

We had been trying to get on the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda. Finally, we got on the agenda on Monday, but we were told that we were too far down on the list to be heard that day. So we stayed home and waited. We were told there *might* be a meeting on Tuesday. There was not a meeting on Tuesday. 

Wednesday we called the SJC office and were told that if we were on the agenda we should show up because they were planning to get through the whole agenda that day. So we went and spent probably 8 hours waiting. We were told to go home by several people, that they wouldn't get to us. In fact, we were told that we were so far down on the list our bill was all but dead.

We were told SJC might meet again today (Thursday). We called this morning. The SJC office was less than helpful on the information factor. We found out they were supposed to meet in the morning, but they didn't have an agenda yet. So we waited. We called again later, they weren't sure if there would be an afternoon meeting. Then we called Rep. Gardner's office and found out a whole lot more info! They were supposed to hear our bill that morning, but she didn't know if that had happened because Gardner had been in committee meetings himself all morning. When she found out, she would call. In the meantime, I got a text from Gardner saying it wasn't heard, but that he was hoping it would be heard this afternoon. So off to Santa Fe we went, again.

We waited. We had sent an email to all of our supporters asking them to call Sen. McSorley and Sen. Martinez to get HB 196 on the consent calendar for Thursday. We were told this morning that there wasn't a consent calendar. Turns out there was a consent calendar. We were not on it. There was even a short agenda for "non-controversial" bills where the debate was limited to 3 minutes a piece. We were told–after the fact–that we were supposed to be on that agenda. We were not on that agenda. As we sat and waited we were hoping to get through. We did not get through today. SJC adjourned at 7 and went to a session in the Senate Chamber. They are not supposed to meet again tonight. 

We are now told that we are supposed to get on the consent agenda tomorrow morning. Since I have almost no faith in what people are telling us these days, I am not about to believe without doubt that we will actually get on the consent agenda tomorrow morning. So, tomorrow (Friday) morning I am off to the Roundhouse again, bright and early! I want to be there in case we are heard, or in case we are on the consent calendar, whichever it may be. I want to be there to see it pass the full Senate. 

So tomorrow could and probably will be another long day in Santa Fe. Despite many nay-sayers and Debbie Downers, we are still optimistic. We trust Rep. Gardner to do everything he can possibly do to get our bill passed and signed this year. 

Fingers and toes crossed everyone. And don't for one minute stop calling your Senators, the Governor, and anyone else you think might help get this done.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Please, please, please help!

In order to get our bill out of committee to the Senate floor before the close of this session on Saturday, we must get HB 196 on the consent calendar of the Senate Judiciary Committee

In order to do that we need to FLOOD the committee chair and vice chair's offices with requests to do just that: Place HB 196 on Thursday's consent calendar for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Please call, email, or both:

Senator Cisco McSorely

Senator Richard Martinez

Thank you so much, we are so close. We need this push to get it through the Senate and to the Governor's desk. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, March 16

6 days and counting until the end of the session. CALL, CALL, CALL!

Good news!

We are on the agenda in Judiciary for tomorrow (Monday, March 16). The meeting, as far as we know, will be public. There are a couple of caveats though.

1. The agenda is like two pages long (76 items) for that one committee, and we are waaaaay down on the list (53rd or so).

2. It is very common for meetings to get cancelled on short notice these days. Sometimes it seems as though they are cancelled on the whim of the chair. 

3. There is a chance (I don't know how much of one) we will get on the consent calendar which means there won't be an actual hearing for us, just a Y or N vote. The consent calendar can make the meeting move more quickly, but you have no chance to persuade the committee.

I am actually a bit surprised we are on the agenda, but it is definitely a good thing. Even if we have to get carried over to Tuesday, we still stand a really good chance of getting a Senate vote before the end of the session. My hope is restored.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Federal Bill: HR 521

HR 5979 has been reintroduced by Mr. King of New York. It is now HR 521 in the 111th Congress. 

It is somewhat abbreviated in comparison to the previous version. It still calls for a standard definition of stillbirth, standard data collection techniques, a national registry, increased research funding, education, and awareness campaigns. It does not encourage more states to pass the MISSing Angels Bill. 

I'll post a link when the govtrack site is back up.

Thursday, March 12

For those who have been watching and waiting for the next committee meeting we finally appear on the agenda. 

Senate Public Affairs Committee will hear us on Thursday, March 12. The meeting starts at 2:30 p.m. in Room 321. There is a chance we will be on the consent calendar, but that doesn't really get us out of that committee any faster. It just means we won't have a hearing.

We are not happy that this has waited so long. We suspect we were intentionally passed over. We are not being heard in the order that we should have been (based upon the description of scheduling we have been given). I am trying to let that go, but it is hard to do. 

What happens next? After SPAC we are assigned to go to Senate Judiciary Committee. As of Thursday, we will have 9 days left in the Regular Session. SJC, which meets MWF, is not actually hearing House bills yet. I don't know if we have enough time to get through. We still have to get through SJC before we can go for a full Senate vote. 

I am nervous and anxious and worried . . . and still ticked off. But trying to get organized and in the right frame of mind to face the committee on Thursday.

We hope to see you there! (I'll be the one with the baby.)

P.S. We are supposed to be 5th on the agenda, but there is no guarantee that we will actually be heard 5th. We might be pushed up or another bill might come from behind. And there is no telling how long the items before us will be debated. Basically, I wish I could give you a more accurate time, but that just isn't possible.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Friday, maybe

The Senate Public Affairs Committee is finally hearing House bills. They have 6 on the agenda for today, and another 11 that are ahead of us. The committee meets Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. I is possible we could be heard as early as Friday or next Tuesday. 

Naturally, politics could effect that estimate. The other thing that could effect it is whether the committee is also meeting on Saturdays. Sometimes late in the session committees that do not otherwise meet on Saturday do so in order to get things done. 

The other thing that might effect it is the state of the Senate. Rep. Gardner is worried that they have already started to wallow and are not really getting much done. This seems to happen every year, every session. I'm left wondering why they can't just grow up and get stuff done, but since I am not one of them I cannot begin to explain it. So at this point, we are calling the SPAC office and emailing the chair, Sen. Dede Feldman, and Rep. Gardner is looking into it as well. 

Hopefully, we will be heard no later than early next week. Keep calling your Senators. I'll post here when we find out when we will be heard.