Monday, May 23, 2022

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Pennsylvania tries to land a regional hydrogen hub, a new study confirms college grads are twice as likely to get good jobs, and a U.S. military plane flies 35 tons of baby formula from Germany to Indianapolis.

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Operation Fly Formula's first shipment arrives, worries of global food shortages grow, President Biden is concerned about a monkeypox outbreak, and a poll says Americans support the Title 42 border policy.

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From off-Broadway to West Virginia: the stories of the deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion, baby formula is on its way back to grocery shelves, and federal funds will combat consolidation in meatpacking.

Landmark 'New Mexico Voting Rights Act' Stalls in Senate

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Monday, February 7, 2022   

Amid support and criticism, a marathon public hearing and debate over a bill to bolster voting access ended in the New Mexico Roundhouse Friday without resolution.

The bill would expand online voter registration, including further protections for Native voters, designate election day as a holiday, and create a permanent, voluntary absentee ballot request list.

During the nine-hour hearing that included public comment, Jacob Vigil - research and policy analyst with New Mexico's Voices for Children - urged lawmakers to take bold action.

"New Mexico is already a model for running fair and secure elections," said Vigil. "And this year you have the opportunity to upgrade our state's election practices and protect the freedom to vote to make our state's democracy more inclusive and representative."

After adopting a series of amendments, the chair of the Senate Rules Committee postponed a vote on the bill, saying it needed more time for review. That will need to happen fast, as only 13 days remain in the short 2022 session.

A provision to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school and city elections was eliminated by the close of Friday's hearing. But Isabella Baker - field organizer with the family-activist group Forward Together - offered several reasons it deserved consideration.

"Sixteen- and 17-year-olds are held accountable to laws created for adults every day," said Baker. "Their paychecks are taxed, they can drive, they can be tried as an adult in court in some cases, and so much more."

Maria Coronado is a community organizer in Las Cruces who spoke in support of the bill and reminded legislators how difficult the past few years have been for immigrant communities.

"The attack on our rights, and even our existence in this country have been painful and infuriating," said Coronado. "One of the things that has given me hope throughout all of this is using my right to vote."

Critics of the bill argued it would undermine election confidence, with many adamant that those younger than 18 should not be allowed to vote.



Disclosure: New Mexico Voices for Children/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Early Childhood Education, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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