Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed the last of four LGBTQ+ specific bills into New Mexico law. When implemented, these laws will have significant impacts on many members of our community. We are incredibly proud of the progress we achieved together for New Mexico this year.
Here are the LGBTQ+ specific rights and liberties you can soon expect:
1. Sex designations will be easier to correct on birth certificates. Beginning June 14th, the Vital Records Modernization Act will allow New Mexicans to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates without having to undergo expensive, invasive, unnecessary, and discriminatory surgery. Designations of M, F, and X will be permitted.
2. No New Mexico business will be able to discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (also implemented June 14th). Prior to the passage of the Non-Discrimination Equality Act (which passed UNANIMOUSLY in both chambers before being signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham), there was a loophole that allowed small businesses (with 14 or fewer employees) to discriminate.
3. Schools will become safer for LGBTQ+ students. By July 1st all New Mexico schools must show proof of changes in their bullying prevention policy that comply with the Safe Schools for All Students Act. These changes must include protection of both sexual orientation and gender identity, improved reporting procedures, and the use of uniform definitions.
4. Single-occupant public bathrooms will become more inclusive. The Gender-Neutral Restrooms Signage Act requires that, by June 14th, single-occupant restrooms in public places have gender-neutral signage.
Additionally, we worked on two bills that aren’t traditionally LGBTQ+ priorities but which have an impact on our queer and trans communities. From those bills, you can expect:
1. Registering to vote will be easier. The Automatic and Same Day Voter Registration Act requires that beginning June 14th, New Mexicans visiting MVD or HSD offices be automatically asked if they'd like to register to vote or update their voter registration, AND they will be able to do so up to and including voting day.
2. Approximately 150,000 New Mexicans will get a raise in January and the minimum wage will be brought to $12.00/hour by 2023. The Minimum Wage Increase will help alleviate poverty, put more money into New Mexico’s economy, and honor the dignity of work for all New Mexico's workers.
Thankfully, due to much hard work, you won’t see the effects of these two '“License to Discriminate” bills that we killed:
1. Healthcare non-discrimination policy will be protected. HB525 Healthcare License to Discriminate sought to remove non-discrimination protections. It was one of the most extreme, unrestrained attacks on trans and queer people, women, and science that we've seen and we were relieved to see it go.
2. Similarly, HB600 Women’s Healthcare License to Discriminate offered yet another unrestrained attack on trans and queer ‘women’s’ healthcare. Thankfully, we were able to kill it in its first committee.
Although we worked very hard on the following pieces of legislation, they didn’t pass this year. With your support, we will continue to work hard on them:
1. Prohibit Gay/Trans Panic Defense was held up by the onslaught of legislation this year. This bill would have stopped the gay/trans panic defense from being used in violent crime cases. The use of this defense is the result of a decades-old idea that gender LGBTQ+ identities were mental illnesses. We know this is false and it’s high time this legislation was overturned — we’ll keep working to get this done.
2. Similarly, Permanent Protection for Abortion Access was tabled. This bill would have permanently protected access to abortion. We plan to double down on this work and make sure people in every corner of the state know why access to reproductive healthcare *is* in fact an LGBTQ+ issue.
We owe HUGE thanks to all our sponsors: Rep. Deborah Armstrong, Sen. Jacob Candelaria, Rep. Angelica Rubio, Sen. Elizabeth Stefanics, Sen. William Soules, Sen. Linda Lopez, Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, Sen. Bill Tallman, and Sen. Peter Wirth.