Paid family leave bill likely dead after House committee votes to table it

State Rep. Linda Serrato had one question for the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

“Is this the time for New Mexico to do paid family leave?” the Santa Fe Democrat asked.

She was disappointed with the response.

Two fellow House Democrats, Reps. Marian Matthews of Albuquerque and Patty Lundstrom of Gallup, joined the four Republicans on the committee in a 6-5 vote to table Senate Bill 11, the proposed Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.

With less than five days left in the legislative session, the move likely means the bill is dead.

Supporters of SB 11, which would have entitled many New Mexico workers to take up to 12 weeks of leave while receiving a part of their regular pay, have said it would benefit workers who give their all to a company and find they can’t get paid time off when dealing with an illness, the birth of a baby or a family member in need of care. Workers who have been victims of domestic violence also would have been eligible for the paid leave.

“Of course it’s disappointing,” said Serrato, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque. “But every significant step forward in New Mexico took a lot of bravery and took time. … It takes time.”

The committee Friday had delayed a vote on the bill to give Serrato and Stewart time to work on an amendment to address some concerns. But the changes didn’t sway lawmakers who feared the measure’s potential effects on businesses.

“That table was a very sad thing for women of colo