Several weeks have passed since the end of the 2019 session of the New Mexico Legislature. We’ve rested. We’ve evaluated. And, we have renewed our resolve to push forward again in 2020 for Community Solar across our state.
What happened between January and March with HB210/SB281, the Community Solar Act? In short, Representative Patricia Roybal Cabellero moved the bill swiftly through the House where it was approved in a 42 to 25, largely party line vote. Then the bill stalled in the Senate. Not until Tuesday of the legislature’s final week, 22 days later, did Senator Joseph Cervantes bring the bill to his Senate Conservation Committee. With major modifications and a bill substitute, a version of the original act moved to Senator Richard Martinez’s Judiciary Committee. The “clock was run out,” and Community Solar never received a final committee hearing. Once again, the bill died.
Where do we go from here?
First, members and supporters of the Coalition will gather to discuss new approaches in advancing the Community Solar Act in the 2020 legislative session. Who else must be involved? What modifications to the Act must be considered? What new approaches must be employed?
Second, in the months of spring and summer we will be focused on expanding the membership of the Coalition. Our founding members of Las Cruses, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Santa Fe County were steadfast in their support for the bill during the session. More voices from a broad section of New Mexico’s communities must be invited into the Coalition. With that expansion, the advocacy for community solar and other key sustainability actions will grow.
Third, I share the extraordinary enthusiasm for the Coalition and the first bill which we sought to advance. The expressions of support and encouragement from so many sectors continued throughout the session: individual legislators, labor, business leaders from in and out of state, Native American communities, the full spectrum of environmental organization, and dedicated individuals. Your enthusiasm gave us strength and the commitment to carry on.
With the wrap-up of the 2019 session, I want to express again my sincere thanks to Representative Roybal Caballero and Senator Liz Stefanics for carrying the bill forward, to the experts who spent tireless hours offered detailed explanations, and to the hundreds of supporters who attended hearings or communicated directly with legislators.
We are regrouping. We will grow the Coalition. We will advance Community Solar again along with other key measures. More to come in the months ahead.
All the best,