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Current Brain Injury Legislative Issues

Budget, Budget, Budget “adjustments” (cuts) and Revenue “enhancements” (taxes) will be the main topic of this year’s 30 day session starting on January 19 running through February 27 (approx.) .New Mexico is one of the many states considering ways to legislate for helping those with brain injury. The most important consideration that you as a tax payer, citizen and advocate for disabilities is to consider the impending cuts to: Medicaid; State services to people living with disabilities; and of course certain tax increases that might affect you. Remember, this legislative session is a tough one. The upcoming budget “Exceeds expected income in the coming year by more than $500 million. That shortfall is 10% of the state budget…” Jim Jackson, DRNM. More recent news has predicted even more dire cuts and tax increases.

During the legislative session, individual legislators may be contacted by calling the legislative switchboard at (505) 986-4300, by email at the legislator’s email address, if available, listed under the Find Your Legislator page, or by writing to legislators at Room 411, State Capitol, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501.

On the WEB: Go to find your legislator: use the search by name district or zip code. If you do not know your legislators’ name – use your 5 digit zip code in the zip code block. Click and you may see several legislators, if so: enter in your 4 digit add on to the zip code (check a recent bill mailed to you for the add on) and enter it. Having trouble: call the Brain Injury Association!

For now, the only piece of legislation directly affecting Brain Injury prevention and education is a VERY important Bill: SB 1 Sports Concussions – Sen. Michael Sanchez. Would prohibit school athletic coaches from a) allowing students to play in athletic contests on a day when they have been diagnosed with a concussion or similar head injury or are displaying behavioral signs of such an injury, and b) using such a player until they have a medical release to do so. The bill also mandates training on concussions and similar injuries.

Senator Sanchez is from Belen (Valencia County). Since the Bill originates in the Senate, it will be heard in the Senate Committees first. To follow SB 1’s progress go to this website. Regardless of the outcomes of this legislative session, New Mexico is faced with “tightening of belts” and making every dollar stretch. Deficit spending is not an option.

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