Sen. Leo Jaramillo Sits As Vice Chair Of Senate Rules Committee

Sen. Leo Jaramillo participates in Senate Rules Committee Monday at the State Legislature. Courtesy photo


Sen. Leo Jaramillo, District 5, is now the vice chair of the Senate Rules Committee in the state legislature. He told attendees at last week’s virtual League of Women Voters/American Association of University Women 2022 Legislative Preview that he was excited about joining his colleagues as they set up the rules for committees and public participation as well as listening to the confirmations of people who have been sent forth by the governor’s office for various boards.

“We need to remember that first and foremost this is a budget session. We are looking at record revenues for the state, both from gross receipts tax as well as federal funding. A lot of that funding will be slated for critical infrastructure projects across the state. We all know how important it’s going to be, not only for internet, but bridges, roads, senior centers, public libraries and schools. We need to make sure that we get the funding in the right place and we’re ready to execute,” he said.

Sen. Jaramillo noted that the legislature will be appropriating nearly $1.1 billion in federal money reserved under the American Federal Rescue Plan Act  as well as our state’s annual budget.

“It’s really exciting to know and to hear about the money that’s coming into the state of New Mexico and the plans that we have set forth – executing projects and increasing budgets throughout state agencies,” he said.

Sen. Jaramillo said he has the extraordinary opportunity to work together with everybody at the House and the Senate to advance the wellbeing of all New Mexico children, families and communities throughout this session.

“The better than expected revenues that we’ve all being talking about and the influx of that federal relief funding will allow greater investments in programs and services that will improve family economic security, make health care more affordability and expand and improve birth to career education systems that help our children succeed. As a former educator, that’s something that’s very important to me.

Sen. Jaramillo said he will be supporting bills that center around food security support, that address child hunger and strengthen food security throughout the state.

“When I ran for office, I told you how housing was one of my major initiatives. I’m going to be supporting bills that support housing, including increasing and making reoccurring investments in the Housing Trust Fund and healthcare investments to ensure full funding of Medicaid including the bill to extend coverage of new moms from the current two months to 12 months post-partum and the end of the medical waivers and that waiting list,” he said.

He noted that he will also be working on environmental health and climate action bills with his colleagues in the Senate and the House to secure stronger rules and regulations for capturing methane, improving utility affordability and energy efficiency in homes.

He also wants to bring back the Gay Panic Bill, which would remove a defense that a defendant can make for hurting or killing a gay person by claiming they panicked when someone of the same sex made an advance toward them.  

Sen. Jaramillo discussed the issues rural Rio Arriba County residents who rely on propane for hear had following the December 15 storm.

“Some of those residents only had 5 percent of their tank filled. Not being able to afford to purchase your tank means you lease a tank. When that happens there are rules in place that won’t allow a competing propane company to go in and fill a leased tank. I’m going to be looking at a way that I can introduce a bill that will remove these regulations in times of emergencies to ensure that people who rely on propane for heat will be able to get their tanks filled when a company can’t come in,” he said.

Sen. Jaramillo is also working on a tax bill with the North Central Regional Transit District. He said right now, the tax moves into Santa Fe County and is held there for a while before being moved to the RCRTD.

“By removing the middleman in this case, the tax will go directly to the RCRTD so that programs or buses or anything that tax is going to be used for can be used immediately,” he said.

Sen. Jaramillo said that as former educator, he is excited that the teachers’ union has asked him to carry a memorial declaring Jan. 31 the New Mexico National Board Certified Teachers Recognition Day.

“I’m looking forward to that and to looking at all the other bills and reading them more in depth and working with my colleagues during the session,” he said.