The Latest: New Mexico congressman seeks broad voter access

February 1, 2019
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U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, right, at podium, addresses the state Legislature on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, in Santa Fe, N.M. Lujan encouraged state legislators to adopt same-day voter registration and open up the state's Medicaid program to paying customers. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on activity at the New Mexico Legislature (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan has urged the New Mexico state Legislature to move forward with efforts to increase access to voting and provide new options for medical insurance in the state.

Lujan addressed a joint session of the state House and Senate on Thursday.

The sixth term congressman for northern New Mexico expressed support for the adoption of same-day voter registration and automatic registration during transactions at state Motor Vehicle Division offices.

He also wants New Mexico to create an accessible buy-in option for Medicaid coverage for people who make too much money to qualify or receive other federal health care subsidies.

The election of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to succeed a Republican has opened the door to reform proposals on climate change, gun control and decriminalizing drugs that were off limits for eight years.

Democrats in the U.S. House recently elected Lujan to the No. 4 leadership post as assistant Democratic leader.


1 p.m.

New Mexico lawmakers would channel a small portion of state investments specifically toward renewable energy projects under newly proposed legislation.

A House panel on energy policy took up discussion Thursday of a bill from Democratic state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton to channel 1 percent of a $5 billion trust fund toward investments in solar and wind energy

The bill seeks to invest about $50 million from the state’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund in the renewable energy sector. No immediate action was taken on the bill.

Democratic lawmakers have introduced a raft of bills to encourage renewable energy development and trim state government’s dependence on income from oil and natural gas.

Also Thursday, a House panel advanced a bill to reduce income taxes for people who invest in home energy-efficiency upgrades.

Update hourly