On May 16, the Albuquerque City Council voted 7 to 2 to approve the 2022-2023 city budget. The overall budget approved by the Albuquerque City council is for $1.4 Billion and with $857 million in general fund Appropriations. The budget approved by the council was increased by 20% over the current year’s budget which ends June 10, 2022.
The council approved the budget on a 7-2 vote with Democrat City Councilors Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Klarisa Pena, Tammy Fiebelkorn and Louie Sanchez and Republicans Brook Basaan and Trudy Jones voting YES and Republicans Dan Lewis and Renee Grout voting NO. The fiscal year begins on July 1, 2022 and will end on June 30, 2023.
LEWIS CHANGES A VOTE
Initially, the city council had voted 8 to 1 to approve the $857 million General Fund budget that was part of the entire $1.4 billion budget. When the initial vote to approve the budget was taken, the City Council adjourned for a short recess for its customary “dinner break”.
Upon reconvening after the dinner break, City Councilor Dan Lewis announced that although he did not want to change his “NO” vote on the entire budget, he wanted to change his vote to correct his vote allocating $250,000 to a Planned Parenthood of New Mexico sponsorship that was sponsored by City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn.
Under parliamentary procedure rules followed by the City Council, only a counselor who voted in favor of the passage of a measure can move for consideration of that measure, in this case the entire budget. Republican Councilor Renee Grout, having initially voted for the budget, moved to reconsider the budget vote to allow Lewis to correct and vote NO for allocating $250,000 to a Planned Parenthood of New Mexico sponsorship.
Ostensibly, during the City Council dinner break, Dan Lewis was able to convince Republican Renee Grout to move to reconsider the vote on the budget, which she did once the council reconvened. Dan Lewis did not change his NO vote on the budget but rather correct his vote for allocating $250,000 to Planned Parenthood of New Mexico. Lewis was among the six councilors who had approved Democrat Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn’s amendment to include the Planned Parenthood funding in the budget.
Dan Lewis offered an explanation for his seeking to reconsider the vote on the Planned Parenthood of New Mexico sponsorship and said this:
“I was honestly looking at another amendment when we voted on this and just want to change my vote on the record.”
The budget amendment passed again on a 6 to 3 vote with Republican City Councilor Trudy Jones, who had initially voted against it, supporting its passage when it was voted upon again. The budget also repassed on a 7 to 2 vote, with Republican Renee Grout joining Lewes in opposing the passage of the budget. in the do-over.
Fiebelkorn celebrated the approval of the funding of Planned Parenthood and had this to say in a written statement:
“These funds support our local Planned Parenthood clinic to ensure that all Albuquerque women have access to family planning, abortion, and other reproductive health services. ”
The link to the quoted news source is here:
LEWIS COMPLAINS ABOUT BUDGET ENACTEMENT
After the May 16 City Council meeting approving the $1.4 billion dollar budget, City Councilor Dan Lewis said in an interview that he could not support appropriating $100 million in additional revenues and that was the reason for voting NO on the budget, Lewis had this to say:
“I just disagree with the entire budget. … I think it could have been done a lot better.”
Dan Lewis failed to provide specific examples of departments or programs he felt should not be funded or that were given too much money in the approved budget.
The only appropriation Lewis singled out and objected to was the $250,000 council sponsorship of Planned Parenthood, no doubt because he is “prolife” and is opposed to Plan Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose.
Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis mouthing off and saying “I just disagree with the entire budget. … I think it could have been done a lot better” amounts to nothing more than meritless, self-righteous indignation and laziness on his part.
If Dan Lewis had a problem with the city budget, he should have offered amendments to voice his concerns and make cuts or require further approval from the City Council, but no, he just wanted to complain for the sake of complaining and for publicity.
Lewis is no neophyte to the City Council. He has just begun his third term on the city council after a 4-year absence caused by him losing his run for Mayor in 2017 in a landslide to Tim Keller.
Lewis has served as the City Council Budget Chair in the past and knows full well that he could have just as easily instructed the council to draft a proposed “substitute budget” to his liking, or sponsored amendments to the proposed budget, but that would have required effort and some work on his part.
The blunt truth is Dan Lewis could have NOT have done a better job with the budget and he just wants to complain for publicity’s sake.
Dan Lewis has already made it known privately to supporters he is running for Mayor again in 2025. His voting NO on the budget amounts to nothing more than his continuing obstructionists’ tactics he is known for since assuming office on January 1 to carry out his personal vendetta against Tim Keller.
REPEAL OF 1969 ABORTION BAN
On Friday, February 26, 2021 Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill repealing the 1969 abortion ban. The 1969 law criminalized abortion to end a woman’s pregnancy except in certain circumstances, such as rape and incest. The 1969 state statute was not enforced in the state due to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade in the 1970s, which legalized abortion nationwide.
The repeal of the 1969 law was necessitated by the fact repeated attempts have been made over the years to have the United States Supreme Court reverse the decision of Roe v Wade. With the appointment of 3 very conservative supreme justices over the last 4 years, the reversal of Roe v. Wade is became more and more likely by the Supreme Court, in which case New Mexico’s 1969 law would again become law in the state.
In a statement, Governor Lujan Grisham had this to say:
“A woman has the right to make decisions about her own body. Anyone who seeks to violate bodily integrity, or to criminalize womanhood, is in the business of dehumanization. New Mexico is not in that business – not anymore. Our state statutes now reflect this inviolable recognition of humanity and dignity. I am incredibly grateful to the tireless advocates and legislators who fought through relentless misinformation and fear-mongering to make this day a reality. Equality for all, equal justice and equal treatment – that’s the standard. And I’m proud to lead a state that today moved one step closer to that standard.”
REPEAL CRITICIZED AND DEFENDED
Republican State Senator Crystal Diamond, R-Elephant Butte, said the bill’s passage was not a win for women, but for abortion providers and said:
“With the stroke of her pen, the governor has weakened standards of care for women, stripped conscience protections for medical professionals and given the abortion industry unchecked power to operate under the radar in our state. ”
Supporters of the repeal pushed back hard on the claim arguing other medical conscience protections in state and federal law will remain in place. In addition, advocates for the repeal of the 1969 law criminalizing abortion was statute of a highly sexist era.
LEAKED UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT DECISION REVERSING ROE V. WADE
On May 3, 2022 the on line publication POLITICAL reported that the United Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO. The draft opinion is a full-throttled, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that largely maintained the right.
In the leaked draft of the decision Justice Alito writes
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. … It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Quoting the POLITICAL report:
“The immediate impact of the ruling as drafted would be to end a half-century guarantee of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. It’s unclear if there have been subsequent changes to the draft.
No draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The unprecedented revelation is bound to intensify the debate over what was already the most controversial case on the docket this term.
A person familiar with the court’s deliberations said that four of the other Republican-appointed justices — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — had voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices after hearing oral arguments in December.
The three Democratic-appointed justices — Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — are working on one or more dissents, according to the person. How Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an already written opinion or draft his own, is unclear.
The document, labeled as a first draft of the majority opinion, includes a notation that it was circulated among the justices on Feb. 10. If the Alito draft is adopted, it would rule in favor of Mississippi in the closely watched case over that state’s attempt to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
If the United States Supreme Court does in fact reverse Roe v. Wade as is anticipated sometime soon and makes abortion an issue and a right for states to decide, no one should be surprised if Dan Lewis introduces a city council resolution that would prohibit abortions from being conducted within the city limits. It is also likely other communities in the state will do the same.
City Council and County Commission resolutions could call for prohibiting the issuance of licenses to do business to any health care provider that provide abortions. Failure to have a business license would allow government action to shut them down.
As it stands, abortions in New Mexico are now legal with the repeal of 1969 criminal law. However, abortion is already an issue in the Governor’s race with one Republican candidate running on outlawing abortion as her sole platform.
Once the final Supreme Court ruling is issued that in fact reverses Roe v. Wade, the Governor and the New Mexico legislature need to convene a special session and enact a Woman’s Health Care Act codifying Roe v. Wade confirming a woman’s right to choose and prohibiting any government within the state placing any limitations on a woman’s right to choose.