State Sen. Craig Brandt, a Republican who represents District 40-Rio Rancho, was joined by Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and University of New Mexico head football coach Danny Gonzales Thursday at the State Capitol for a press conference to discuss Senate Bill 71, also known as “Glory’s Law.”
“Glory’s Law” is named after the daughter of Christy Sellers, who also spoke at the event, and would ban discrimination against people with physical or mental disabilities regarding organ transplants. It’s an issue that hasn’t come up yet in New Mexico but has happened in other states.
“Glory has Down syndrome, she has Tetralogy of Fallot, which is a heart defect that affects all four chambers of her heart, she has chronic lung issues, she’s profoundly deaf, she has a lot of special needs,” Sellers said. “I heard about a story in another state where a baby was denied a kidney transplant solely based on that child having Down syndrome. So immediately I wanted to find out how our state stood on that and right now, we don’t have any laws in place to protect people with disabilities. Should they need a transplant, they could be denied solely based on having Down syndrome, solely based on being deaf. These are things that don’t affect their quality of life or make them any less worthy. So I’m so super thankful for Senator Brandt and that he’s coming alongside us and sees the value in making sure our people with disabilities in our state are safe and cared for before there is an issue. So we’re gonna jump on board, and I really am hoping that we can get this bill through this year.”
The bill, introduced by Brandt, was unanimously passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday and will be heard in the Tax, Business and Transportation Committee next week.
“I’d love to be back here a few weeks with the governor having her sign this bill. I think it’d be really great thing for the people in New Mexico to show that we do value everyone’s life,” Brandt said. “We have a young man at our church whose name is Sammy, and Sammy also has Down syndrome. He’s 30 years old, just turned 30 last week. And I will tell you, one of the most wonderful things about Sammy is he’s never upset. And I think if we could learn one thing from children and adults with Down syndrome is that it’s time for us to start smiling. It’s time for us to be happy because they’re the happiest people. They don’t let all the problems of the world stress them out. And so one of the one of my favorite things about going to church every Sunday is seeing Sammy. I don’t want Sammy to have a medical issue and be denied a transplant and have Sammy’s life end because someone is going to discriminate against him. We need more people like Sammy, not less.”
Gonzales was there to show support for the bill, which could affect his 8-year-old daughter Abby, who has Down syndrome, or his 10-year-old daughter Chloe, who found out last Thanksgiving that she’s Type 1 Diabetic.
“That doesn’t define who they are; it’s a part of who they are,” Gonzales said. “And for somebody to be denied something, because somebody decides that they’re not worthy. We’re all human beings, and to be a kind human being is not hard. And the great people of New Mexico that support this and I love being from here, but without Senator Brandt and Christy bringing this and starting it and getting the ball rolling on this. I’m so honored to be a part of it because of my family, but to be a part of it because of the state of New Mexico and who we are as people. The people that we have here in the Legislature, they do what’s best for our community, and that’s why I’m excited for the opportunity to get this bill passed.”
The bill was introduced last year but didn’t pass. Morales hopes that won’t be the case in 2023.
“We’re going to protect the most vulnerable of New Mexican citizens; we’re going to do that,” Morales said. “I’m grateful that even though last year, we got a lot of movement that took place within this legislation, we didn’t get quite get across the finish line. This year, we’re confident we’re going to be able to do that. And I want to thank Senator Brandt for his advocacy to ensure that he doesn’t give up on this piece of legislation, because families are dependent on this. And when we look and see the impact that this will mean, and the impact that this will make. We don’t look at the difference of just one year from now for generations to come. And this is what this piece of legislation really does signify and symbolize is the opportunity for New Mexico to say that we’re going to stand for all of the individuals who need that access to health care.”