- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Several countermeasures against directives from President Donald Trump are making their way through New Mexico’s Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Lawmakers in the House are preparing for a vote as soon as Tuesday on a bill to prohibit state cooperation with federal efforts to extend a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Other pending bills seek to ensure the New Mexico National Guard and state and local law enforcement steer clear of enforcing federal immigration law.

As Republicans in Washington move to overhaul former President Barack Obama’s health care law, New Mexico legislators want to enshrine into state law low-cost access to contraceptives and to study effects on a state health care system that depends heavily on federal Medicaid funding.

It’s unclear which bills might survive the veto pen of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who was in Washington on Monday with other state governors to meet with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

In a statement, Martinez described the Affordable Care Act as “catastrophic,” saying it needs to be repealed and replaced with something that lowers premiums for families and small businesses.

A look at some of the legislative initiatives in New Mexico:



Under a bill proposed by Democrats, the federal government would be barred from acquiring property for a wall along the state’s 180-mile international border. Roughly 22 miles are controlled by the State Land Office, which has suggested making way for the wall by swapping the state’s border holdings for other federal land in the state - or charging $3 million for an easement.

Democrats are trying to fast-track the legislation that bans any use, sale, lease or transfer of state lands for a federal border barrier. Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Mesilla Park, contends the legislation would make it more difficult - if not impossible - for Trump to move forward with the wall.



Proposals pending in the House and Senate call for banning the use of state resources or funding to apprehend people whose only crime relates to being in the country illegally.

Sponsor Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero said the legislation is designed to ensure New Mexico residents are not targeted by law enforcement because of the way they look or the language they speak.

But House Republicans have cautioned against sanctuary-style immigration measures that might cut off access to federal funding for a variety of local law enforcement initiatives.



State lawmakers have fewer than three weeks left in the 2017 session to react to emerging proposals in Washington to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

One major concern is whether repeal might reverse the expansion of insurance coverage in New Mexico. The share of residents without insurance has fallen to less than 9 percent from nearly 19 percent in 2013.

State Insurance Superintendent John Franchini wrote to U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy last month to caution against any swift changes that might destabilize the state’s health insurance marketplace.

Concerns about an overhaul also focus on no-cost access to a range of contraceptives, granted in 2012 under the federal law. Similar guarantees to birth control would be written into state law under a proposal from five female Democratic lawmakers.

Also, Democratic Rep. Debbie Armstrong of Albuquerque is attempting to open the door to universal health care under with bill that has been introduced in various forms for 20 years. The House declined to vote on the bill last week, returning it to committee for possible revisions.

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