A seven-hour special session met and concluded on Nov. 24. According to blogger Joe Monahan, during the June special session, the state originally put a large chunk of its federal COVID relief money into the general fund, but then decided to use more of that for virus relief during the November Special Session.
The bill that passed appropriated $319 million from allocation of federal CARES funds to support New Mexicans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health orders. The bill also appropriated $10.2 million to support the Department of Health and the Administrative Office of the Courts.
CARES Act appropriations included a one-time $1,200 benefit to New Mexicans who are currently on an unemployment benefit program, who have recently exhausted unemployment benefits, or who will enroll in a program within seven days. Money has also been set aside through the New Mexico Finance Authority to provide grants to businesses with less than 100 employees, with priority given to hospitality and leisure businesses and businesses who have experienced severe economic impact. Funds were also designated to assist low-income residents, emergency food bank services and provide homeless assistance.
Criticisms of the bill have been that there were no provisions to give aid to overworked essential workers and that all of the federal CARES appropriation should have gone back to the public.
We will provide information about accessing these CARES funds as they become available to ensure that our local residents have all of the necessary information they need.
From the Office of Mayor Dale Janway