What is a Green Amendment?
Green Amendments are self executing provisions added to the bill of rights section of a constitution that recognize and protect the rights of all people. regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or income, including future generations, to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.
What's Happening in New Mexico?
On January 19, the first day of NM’s 2021 Legislative Session, Joint Senate Resolution 3, a resolution to amend the New Mexico Constitution in order to add enforceable environmental rights, was introduced by Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Senator Bill Soules, Senator Harold Pope Jr., and Representative Joanne Ferrary.
On February 8, the Senate Rules Committee voted 7-4 in favor of an updated version of the proposed NM Green Amendment, this new version maintained all of the legal power of the original proposal, plus added some new and valuable elements. From there the amendment proceeded to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it unfortunately languished until the end of the legislative session because of the failure of Senator Cervantes to put it forth for hearing.
Not to be deterred, our legislative champions and growing coalition of organization supporters immediately started gearing up for the 2022 legislative session. Consideration of constitutional amendments are appropriate and commonplace for the 30 day session.
More legislators are signing on every day, pledging their intention to co-sponsor and support the New Mexico Green Amendment in 2022. At this point our list of Legislative champions includes: Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Representative Joanne Ferrary, Senator Harold Pope, Jr., Senator Bill Soules, Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics, Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Senator Carrie Hamblen, Representative Tara Lujan, Senator Shannon Pinto, Representative Andrea Romero, Representative Karen Bash, Representative Debbie Sarinana, Representative Roger Montoya, Senator Linda Lopez, Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero, Senator Bill Tallman, Senator Jeff Steinborn, Representative Kay Bounkeua, Representative Christine Trujillo, Representative Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson, and Representative Gail Chasey.
Upon securing just a majority vote in each of the legislative houses, the NM Green Amendment will be placed on the ballot for a vote of the people at the next election. While the Governor has the bully pulpit and could be using her voice in support, she does not have an official role in the constitutional amendment process.
The Joint Resolution for 2022 consideration proposes amending the state constitution’s Bill of Rights to recognize and protect the rights of all of the people of New Mexico “to a clean and healthy environment, including water, air, soil, flora, fauna, ecosystems and climate, and to the preservation of the natural, cultural, scenic and healthful qualities of the environment”; to ensure these rights are protected for present and future generations; and to designate all the state’s government officials as trustees of the natural resources of the state constitutionally obligated to “conserve, protect and maintain” them. (See full text below in Green)
Want to see the full NM Green Amendment text and benefit from the top talking points you can use to educate yourself and others? Find both here.
MORE EXCITING NEWS
On National Green Amendment Day, the Doña Ana Board of County Commissioners stood in solidarity with many New Mexico organizations and passed a proclamation formally recognizing July 13 as Green Amendment Day.
Read the proclamation here and listen to Senator Carrie Hamblen's powerful remarks on the need for a NM Green Amendment particularly for BIPOC communities. Senator Hamblen is the CEO and President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and serves as the state Senator for District 38.
New Mexico organizational support for a state Green Amendment is on the rise. If you are the leader of an organization, business or other entity, please consider signing our organizational letter of support found here.
New Mexico is being featured in The Green Amendment documentary series. You can read about the journey of interviews and filming in a 3 part reflection series written by our Founder, Maya van Rossum:
- Reflections on the first part of her trip here.
- Reflections on the second part of the trip are available here
- Reflections on the third and final part of the trip are now available - read here!
New Mexico is being featured in the Green Amendment Documentary Series.
Want to see a bit more about the beginning of our NM Green Amendment movement? This video includes highlights of one of our earlier visits and how it all began.
The New Mexico Green Amendment Joint Resolution Reads as Follows:
Resolution for Proposing New Mexico Green Amendment Language profiled January 5, 2022
SECTION 1. It is proposed to amend Article 2 of the constitution of New Mexico by adding a new section to read:
The people of the state have the natural, inherent and inalienable right to a clean and healthy environment, including water, air, soil, flora, fauna, ecosystems and climate, and to the protection of the natural, cultural, scenic and healthful qualities of the environment.
The protection of the state's environment is hereby declared to be of fundamental importance to health, safety and the public interest.
The state, including it's political subdivision, shall serve as trustee of the natural resources of New Mexico and shall conserve, protect and maintain these resources for the benefit of all the people, including present and future generations.
The provisions of this section are self-executing. Money damages shall not be allowed under this section.
SECTION 2. It is proposed to amend Article 20 of the constitution of New Mexico by repealing Section 21.
SECTION 3. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next general election or at any special election prior to that date that may be called for that purpose.
Organizations Signed On Supporting New Mexico Having a Green Amendment
- Southwest Native Cultures
- Indivisible Nob Hill
- Retake Our Democracy
- Rio Grande Valley Broadband, Great Old Broads for Wilderness
- Southwest Environmental Center
- Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA)
- National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL)
- New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light
- Think Like a Bee
- Common Ground Community Trust
- Adelante Progressive Caucus
- Great Old Broads for Wilderness
- Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens
- Rio Grande Waterkeeper
- WildEarth Guardians
- Aldo’s Silver City Broadband of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness
- Water-Culture Institute
- Albuquerque Wildlife Federation
- 350 New Mexico
- 350 Santa Fe
- Interfaith Worker Justice – New Mexico
- Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment
- Amigos Bravos
- Renewable Taos
- Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter
- Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates
- New Mexico Youth Climate Strike
- New Mexico Solar Energy Association
- Rio Grande Return
- Progressive Democrats of America, Central New Mexico
- Pajarito Environmental Education Center
- Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce
- Western Environmental Law Center
- Defenders of Wildlife
- Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge
- Tewa Women United
- NM Healthy Soil Working Group
- Native American Democratic Caucus of NM
- American Planning Association NM
- DPNM Rural Caucus
- New Mexico Environmental Law Center
- New Mexico Conference of Churches
- SW Conference of the United Church of Christ
- Office of Justice, Peace and Creation, Catholic Charities of Gallup Diocese
COVID-19 has certainly impacted the ability to engage as robustly as is needed to ensure everyone understands the values and power of a NM Green Amendment. If you want to help us spread the word by organizing a zoom talk please send an email to GAFTG@ForTheGenerations.org and we will work with you to set it up.