SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Signing an executive order Monday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is directing state departments to start collecting voluntarily offered self-identification information surrounding a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. The change, according to the Governor’s Office, will give the state data to enhance services for the LGBTQ+ community in New Mexico.
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Calling it “an advance long-sought by LGBTQ+ advocates,” the Lujan Grisham administration says the order will better help state agencies address “health disparities,” and identify barriers to “effective care for non-conforming” individuals.
“If we want to solve a problem, we first need information about what’s causing it,” Governor Lujan Grisham said in a prepared news release Monday. “This voluntary mechanism for demographic analysis is a tool the state of New Mexico can and will use to improve its service to traditionally underserved New Mexicans.”
Under the executive order, the state can only use voluntarily provided information about sexual orientation and gender identity for a specific series of reasons. Those include, “demographic analysis, coordination of care, quality improvement of government services, conducting research, guiding policy and funding decisions.” The Governor Office says “protections about individual identification” are also written into the order.
The governor has held several news briefings as of recent, announcing a series of shifts in her cabinet, along with major policy decisions, including a policy forcing state employees to get routine tests for COVID-19 if they’re not vaccinated. She made another announcement during a July 29 news briefing, forecasting an upcoming surge of additional New Mexico State Police officers in Albuquerque, which is now expected to begin this week.
Governor Lujan Grisham’s office announced Monday it will temporarily reassign about 35 more NMSP officers to Albuquerque and Bernalillo County starting Tuesday, August 17. The Governor’s office says the new surge, will address car theft, drug trafficking, aggressive driving and DWI on I-25 and I-40 and arresting violent criminals with felony warrants with partners including the state’s Probation and Parole Division.
The Governor’s office says those focuses were specifically “identified in strategic planning sessions with local officials as key areas of emphasis where state government resources could make a meaningful difference.” While nearly three dozen NMSP officers are expected to be part of the August surge, roughly 50 officers were part of a surge in 2019.
The Governor just appointed a new Department of Public Safety secretary, Jason Bowie, nearly three weeks ago during a July 29 news conference. In that same news conference, the governor also appointed a new Public Education Department secretary. Last Tuesday, Governor Lujan Grisham announced the appointment of former state Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil as the new CYFD secretary-designee.