Mobilizing Communities for Health
Legislation to restore funding to the health councils has been filed in both houses of the New Mexico Legislature:
House Bill 99, sponsored by Representative Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-San Juan County
Senate Bill 79, sponsored by Senator Howie Morales, D-Grant County
Both bills use identical language:
$900,000 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of health for expenditure in fiscal year 2016 to fund county and tribal health councils' identification of local communities' health needs and development of strategies to address those needs pursuant to the maternal and Child Health Plan Act.
HB 99 has been assigned to two committees:
House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs
House Appropriations and Finance
The legislative process for these bills will include the following steps:
- Bill analysis and Fiscal Impact Report are conducted by the NM Dept. of Health. (The Fiscal Impact Report has been completed and includes references to evaluation data showing that health councils have been able to raise/leverage substantial amounts of outside funding.)
- House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee will review and vote on HB99. Rep. Clahchischilliage, sponsor of HB99, is a member of this committee.
- House Appropriations and Finance Committee will review and vote on HB99. This committee will decide whether to include the requested appropriation in House Bill 2, the budget bill. Once the funding is included in the budget, HB99 will no longer be a separate, numbered bill.
- HB2, the House budget, will then go to the Senate Finance Committee, which may opt to approve the appropriation or to increase the amount. Sen. Howie Morales is on Senate Finance, so he will be in a position to insert or increase an appropriation to support health councils.
- The budget will be voted on by the full Senate and sent to the Governor.
- The Governor will sign, veto, or line item veto the budget. (We have met with staff members in the Governor's office, and they now have a clear understanding of the health council funding legislation. We are also confident that the Department of Health will recommend keeping any health council appropriation.)
Steps 2-6 are all potential points of intervention in which it will be important let legislators (and finally, Governor Martinez) know that you support the restoration of funding for the health councils, and you urge its approval. The NM Alliance of Health Councils send e-mail alerts at various points in the process, urging everyone to make their feelings known, first to legislators, and then to the Governor.
Thanks to the county and tribal health councils and their partner organizations for building this movement toward healthier communities throughout New Mexico.