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Legislature Notebook: Indigenous Peoples’ Day measure advances

The second Monday in October would officially be named Indigenous Peoples’ Day – not Columbus Day – across New Mexico under legislation that advanced Wednesday at the state Capitol.

Albuquerque made a similar change in 2015, after a push from Native American activists, and House Bill 100 would make New Mexico the fourth state to do away with Columbus Day – South Dakota, Hawaii and Oregon are the others.

It’s sponsored by Democratic Reps. Derrick Lente of Sandia Pueblo and Andrea Romero of Santa Fe.

The legislation passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee without opposition Wednesday and now advances to the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee.

Overall, Native Americans make up more than 12 percent of New Mexico’s total population, according to 2017 U.S. Census data.

RAPE VICTIMS: A bill that would allow the names of sexual assault victims and witnesses to be withheld from public reports – at least until charges are filed – is headed to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk.

The House voted 70-0 on Wednesday to approve Senate Bill 118, which already cleared the Senate via a 41-0 vote.

The measure is similar to a proposal that passed the Legislature without opposition in 2017 but was pocket-vetoed by then-Gov. Susana Martinez.

Some open government groups have raised concern about the legislation, but backers say it would protect rape victims.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, who claimed the legislation would prevent the news media from interfering with criminal investigations.

PERMANENT FUND: A renewed attempt to tap New Mexico’s largest permanent fund for early childhood programs is on the move at the Roundhouse.

But the toughest test for the proposed constitutional amendment still likely lies ahead.

House Joint Resolution 1 would take an additional 1 percent from the state’s $17 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund – the current annual distribution rate from the fund is 5 percent – for home visiting and other early childhood programs.

It passed the House Education Committee on a 10-4 vote on Wednesday and now advances to the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

Similar proposals in previous years have passed the House but died in the Senate, where moderate Democrats have joined with Republicans in opposing the idea.

Dan Boyd:


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