Weekly legislative update: Democrats

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It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time for our weekly legislative update, in which we hear from lawmakers on the latest activity at the State Capitol. This week it’s the Democrats’ turn. This week Senator Juan Mendez and House Representative Analise Ortiz joined Ted to discuss the latest news including updates on the budget and House Bill 2427.

“I have had conversations with members on the other side of the aisle and emphasize my personal priorities, which included funding for our housing trust fund and investments in out public schools,” said Ortiz.

Republicans said they they are attempting to make the budget bipartisan but the Democrats are not cooperating. Mendez does not agree with this sentiment.

“This is my eleventh session that I’ve gone through, when the Republicans ask us for a list of our priorities, that’s- they want a map to how to pick us apart,” said Mendez. “If we want a real bipartisan budget, we need time to build consensus, we need time to make sure that we’re all on the same page, that we’re realizing our responsibilities.”

Ortiz pointed out that they are in the final week of committees and that the Democratic caucus is committed to coming to consensus.

Recently, the governor vetoed HB 2427 which would increases domestic violence penalties by five years if the assailant knew the victim was pregnant. Ortiz agrees with this decision because, as she noted, it promotes anti abortion viewpoints.

“One of the most concerning things about this bill is it’s a nefarious attempt to write into law that a fetus has more rights than the pregnant person,” said Ortiz. “The state’s largest anti-domestic violence advocacy group recognized that and opposed this bill.”

Republicans argue that domestic violence often starts with pregnancy issues. Mendez disagrees. He says that there are already many systems and organizations in place to help domestic violence victims that are currently underfunded.

“We could have real, serious budget talks about putting money there and setting up services, advocacy, legal aid, none of that do they want to talk about,” said Mendez.

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