Late on Thursday, Sen. Daniel Ivey Soto (D-Bernalillo) and President Pro Tempore Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo) continued their nasty feud again on the Senate floor after multiple little battles as they butted heads this session in committees.
During a discussion on H.B. 20, which is a “paid sick leave” bill, Sen. Ivey-Soto repeatedly questioned Sen. Stewart on her bill applying to both private and public entities. The provisions of the bill would mandate employers to pay out one hour of sick leave per 30 hours of work.
She called the bill “very moderate” and “very reasonable.”
“This bill was not written for a public employee sick leave policy,” said Sen Stewart.
Ivey-Soto shot back, saying, “While I understand that it was written for [the] private sector when it left the Senate Judiciary, it was no longer was for [the] private sector.” He added, “What I seem to be hearing you say is ‘we the government want to apply a standard to private enterprise that we don’t want to apply to oursel[ves].’ And I just find that very problematic…. The last time I checked, among frontline workers, would not police officers be included in frontline workers?”
Stewart continued to claim that the bill was designed to cover “people that work in grocery stores, bars, restaurants, food delivery services, the folks that are out there without a plan at all, without a plan to get paid sick leave.”
Ivey Soto continually used the example of a receptionist at UNM Hospital versus one at Presbyterian and whether they would be eligible for the bill’s paid sick leave. Stewart continued to claim that the bill was for the private sector, intended for smaller businesses.
In multiple points during the debate, Stewart claimed Ivey-Soto’s questions were “abusive” and at another point refused to recognize Ivey Soto at all.
After the contentious debate, the Senate took a ten-minute recess requested by Sen. Jacob Candelaria (D-Bernalillo) following Sen. Liz Stefanics angrily scolding Sen. Ivey-Soto for his questions, claiming “we are in a bullying state at this point in time and it’s disgraceful to the public.”
Watch a supercut of the whole fiery exchange between the two Democrats:
The two senators previously hashed it out in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where they gave each other sass while discussing an assisted suicide bill. Ivey-Soto claimed “leadership” told him he could no longer debate on House bills, so he left the meeting and claimed he would not hear House bills in his Senate Rules Committee for the foreseeable future. The Senate floor debate appears to be a boiling point for the two senators’ feud.