Public safety, a top priority for the governor’s 2022 agenda

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Public safety, bail reform, and making New Mexico a national hub for hydrogen development are high on Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s priority list for the 2022 legislative session.

Speaking at a luncheon on Tuesday hosted by the New Mexico chapter of the commercial real estate organization NAIOP, the governor highlighted the state’s economic progress in recent years and outlined her vision for how the state can continue to rid itself of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taken together, Lujan Grisham said the three proposals can help the state build on some of its successes in recent years.

“I stand before you today feeling really good about our situation and our potential future,” said Lujan Grisham.

Lujan Grisham, who plans to run for office in 2022, has spoken about each of his legislative priorities in various forums over the past few weeks, but provided additional information on what New Mexicans can expect from the next session. . New Mexico has 30-day sessions in even-numbered years that are generally limited to budget matters and matters authorized for debate by the governor.

An influx of federal dollars and a recovering oil and gas industry means the state is expected to have about $ 1.4 billion in “new” money in the coming year, which is the difference between expected revenues and current state budget.

“It means we have incredible resources at our disposal to do a number of things,” said Lujan Grisham.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called on the governor to improve public safety following a spate of violent crime in Albuquerque. Over lunch, Lujan Grisham said she plans to ask for $ 100 million to help fund efforts to hire 1,000 officers across the state. The funding would also help standardize training and certifications. The influx of money would help alleviate the problem of officers jumping to new jurisdiction, which Lujan Grisham has called a chronic problem.

“We have to think about how we do it differently,” she said.

On bail reform, the governor said she wanted to shift the burden of proof so that those accused of violent offenses involving the use of a weapon are required to show that they can be released. safely.

“We think this is going to be a drastic change in what we are seeing happening in every jurisdiction,” she said.

Last month, the governor discussed plans to make New Mexico a national leader in hydrogen development, which Lujan Grisham says will help decarbonize the country’s transportation infrastructure and potentially generate “billions. Of dollars for the state. Some conservationists have raised concerns about the use of hydrogen in this capacity, calling the technology unproven, according to a previous Journal article.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, the governor said she was encouraged by the state’s economic progress over the past two years. Lujan Grisham noted that property values ​​across the state have increased by 14% and that the state has seen a 4% increase in overall economic activity over the past two years. She also cited unofficial reports showing that more people moved to New Mexico than from it during the pandemic.

However, she added that the state also has 83,000 open jobs. She told the crowd of businessmen that she would like to see a public-private “strike force” designed to get people into new jobs and recruit workers from other states, increasing the work of other state and local initiatives.

“We have all of these programs in place, but until then we have to go out and actively recruit people to come to New Mexico,” said Lujan Grisham.

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