SANTA FE – New Mexico legislators unveiled initiatives on issues ranging from minimum sick-day requirements as a precaution against contagions in the workplace to halting discrimination based on hair styles.
The year’s first draft bills were posted Monday on the Legislature’s website and hint at an ambitious agenda for New Mexico’s annual legislative session that starts on Jan. 19.
Hundreds of bills, resolutions and proposed constitutional amendments are likely to be heard during the first full-length session since the outset of the pandemic.
A proposal from Democratic state Rep. Christine Chandler of Los Alamos would establish a minimum amount of sick leave that can be used to care for family members. Under the proposed healthy workplaces act, employees would accrue at least one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
The bill includes sick-leave entitlements during a 12-month period of 40 to 64 hours, depending on the size of the business. Employers who violate the law would be responsible for damages of at least $500 and an additional payment equal to twice the unpaid leave.
The secretary of the Workforce Solutions Department would be responsible for enforcement.
Separately, Democratic state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton of Albuquerque has drafted legislation that would outlaw schools from discriminating against Black and Native American women’s hairstyles – including braids, cornrows, bantu knots and Afros as well as headdresses.
California was the first state to ban workplace and school discrimination against Black people for wearing hairstyles such as braids, twists and locks.
Lawmakers are still putting finishing touches on bills about abortion rights, internet access and policing reforms.