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UnidosUS Statement on The Failure of Paid Family Medical Leave Bill in New Mexico

CVV News l March 22, 2023

UnidosUS is disappointed that the New Mexico Legislature failed to pass the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (SB 11) before their session ended last week. UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, is advancing common sense solutions that improve the economic wellbeing of working Latino families.

Paid leave is smart, family-friendly, and has been shown to have a positive impact on mothers’ labor force participation as well as support younger women’s labor force participation. UnidosUS strongly supports increasing access to paid leave for workers all across the nation, and states are playing an important role. New Mexico could have become the 12th state to adopt and administer its own paid family leave program, joining other leading states in supporting working families. But state lawmakers from both parties failed to deliver.  

UnidosUS Affiliate Encuentro and others advocated strongly for passage of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (SB 11). This bill would have created a state fund to support qualifying employees to take up to 12 weeks per year of paid leave. Workers could have tapped into the fund following the birth of a child or when they needed to tend to a serious medical situation for themselves or a family member. The measure has the support of more than three-quarters (77%) of voters in New Mexico and would have provided this benefit to hundreds of thousands of families.  

“Voters, workers, community leaders and employers in New Mexico are asking state lawmakers to pass this much needed measure and have been denied by the state House,” said Susana Barragan, Policy Analyst at UnidosUS. “Workers cannot afford to lose wages and earnings even to care for family members,” she continued.   

In addition, the research shows that many employers benefit from state paid leave programs that help reduce turnover, improve productivity and morale and reduce workplace injuries and deaths—all signs of a healthy business.  

Barragan added, “Each time a worker in New Mexico that could have benefitted from paid leave has to choose work over caregiving, they should be reminded that state leaders let them down and ask that they pledge to get it right next time.” 

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Felicia Roberts took an idea gathered a few people to reached into a minority community to highlight the positive, using a minority newspaper the Central Valley Voice. Roberts was joined by her sisters Carolyn Williams, Alleashia Thomas, niece Hermonie Lynn Williams, nephew Ron Williams, cousin Jerald Lester, Jay Slaffey, Greg Savage, Tim Daniels and the late J Denise Fontaine. Each individual played an important role in the birth of the newspapers. Since, then many have stood strong behind the success of the newspapers and its goal to fill a void in the Central Valley community. The Central Valley Voice published their 1st issue in November 1991. Its purposed was to highlight the achievements of minorities in the Central Valley. The Voice focuses on the accomplishments of African Americans and Hispanics giving young people role models while diminishing the stereotypical pictures of gangs, crime and violence that permeate the minority communities. Since 1991, the Central Valley Voice has provided an important voice for the minority community throughout the Madera, Merced. Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

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