Newscity: Nm Poverty Center Confronts Hsd And Discrimination Results In Travel Ban

Nm Poverty Center Confronts Hsd

Taylor Grabowsky
3 min read
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The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty recently filed a motion concerning the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD). The Center on Law and Poverty wants an independent monitor brought in to bring the HSD into full compliance with a 1990 consent decree. The decree was created as a result of a class action lawsuit against the HSD which accused the department of not providing adequate services to its constituents. Officials at the Center on Law and Poverty say the HSD is still not in full compliance. Initial legal action against HSD in this matter was filed in 2013. That’s when HSD went digital, and as a result, 10,000 to 30,000 applicants were automatically denied Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Allegedly, these unprocessed cases were not studied to determine who was at fault in the denial of benefits. Ultimately a violation of federal statutes was discovered; this was the reason for the initial court case filed against HSD by the Center on Law and Poverty. As a result of this motion, the Center was allowed to perform random checks on cases and found a backlog of thousands of SNAP and Medicaid cases that had not been serviced properly. In the past three years, the HSD had five motions filed against them claiming they hadn’t complied with the original 1990 consent decree. This situation led the Center on Law and Poverty to ask for a court-appointed monitor to go through and make sure things are not slipping through the cracks. In their defense, the HSD has called the motion an “extraordinary remedy,” claiming that the Center has not worked with them cooperatively. HSD also says that they are working closely with their IT companies in order to program the necessary changes.

Discrimination Results In Travel Ban

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales has banned any non-essential official city travel to North Carolina and Mississippi. Gonzales, Santa Fe’s first openly gay mayor cites the recent anti-LGBT laws as the reasons why he enacted the ban. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant recently signed a law that protects businesses who refuse services to same-sex couples due to their religious beliefs. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory infamously signed into law legislation that states people must use public restrooms according to the gender listed on their birth certificate. According to Mayor Gonzales, “Santa Fe will continue the policy of banning all non-essential travel to states that pass hateful legislation that promote discrimination.” The mayor was recently selected among a few mayors to travel to Qatar to discuss economic and infrastructure development. However, as the Santa Fe New Mexican reported, Qatar is a country that has passed laws that discriminate against LGBT people. On Saturday, April 9, Matt Ross, a city spokesman, said that the mayor was reconsidering this trip. Gonzales is aware of Qatar’s stance, and is hoping to be able to bring up these issues if he goes on this trip, according to Matt Ross. Mayor Gonzales may still make the trip because the government of Qatar is funding the expedition. Santa Fe city officials indicate that the point of the ban on travel to such states as North Carolina and Mississippi was to prevent N.M. taxpayer money benefitting states with discriminatory laws.
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