Speak Up New Mexico! 2019 New Mexico Legislative Priorities

The blue links below will take you directly to a description of each bill. To access all bills, scroll past the blue links and you will find them organized by issue area. These summaries include detailed information about the bill itself, its history in committees and on the floor, and links to more information. Note that bill numbers shown were assigned for the 2017 NM Legislature Regular Session. When the bills are re-introduced in the 2018 or 2019 session, the numbers will differ.

Speak Up New Mexico! Survey of Legislative Priorities. A survey has been developed to allow all New Mexicans to indicate their level of support for each bill. Click here to take the survey. We need a very large number of people from all parts of the state to complete the survey. Results will be used to vet 2018 candidates, create a voters guide for statewide office candidates, and for Roundhouse candidates in targeted districts. It will also be used to focus lobbying efforts in 2019. So please take and share the survey.

Introduction

The 2019 New Mexico Legislative Priorities Platform was based upon interviews with between 15 and 20 progressive statewide non-profit organizations and many elected officials. Retake was interested in learning what other progressive groups had identified as ‘must pass’ bills going forward, what had prevented these bills from passing in the past, and where their legislative focus would be for the 2019 session.

Based on the compiled information, a list of bills spanning a variety of issue areas was developed. That list was then converted into a statewide online survey to obtain feedback from New Mexicans across all regions of the state. It is important to note that while we gathered information from many lobbying and advocacy groups, the final list of bills for the 2019 survey was determined by Retake Our Democracy. To create a list of bills that was at the same time broad and focused, Retake used the following criteria in selecting bills for the statewide survey:

  1. Ready to make it through the legislature, having come close before due to the efforts of a multitude of progressive organizations.
  2. Able to make the greatest impact on the broadest segment of the state.
  3. Aspirational, doable, but in need of additional advocacy. We are not looking for moderate but for progressive legislation.
  4. Responsive to all regions of the state.

We fully recognize that in each issue area are bills that are also very important. We will advocate for those bills, as well. But to produce a manageable set of priorities required us to limit the total number.

To ensure comprehensive, statewide input, Retake is posting the survey online on Jan 20th and it will be introduced at the Progress Now NM Progressive Summit. It will remain live online until April 15 (a deadline you will easily remember).  We will reach out to non-profit organization partners, supporters, Democratic County Party Chairs, the State Central Committee, and the State Platform and Resolutions Committee to help with dissemination of the survey. The potential impact of this list of bills will depend to a very significant degree upon how many people complete the survey.

Once survey responses are tabulated, we will produce a Report that will profile the degree of support for each bill and depth of input received from various state regions and Roundhouse districts.  The 2019 New Mexico Priorities Platform report will be used to vet candidates for office; it will be used to assess Democratic Party leadership and its capacity and commitment to advancing progressive legislation; and it will also provide the legislature and governor with a list of legislation identified by New Mexicans as being of the highest priority.

For each bill, this list provides links to the final text of the bill and to the bill tracking page on the New Mexico legislature’s Web site (NMLegis.Gov) from which more details can be obtained. Sponsors’ names are linked to their pages on the same site. The descriptions of the bills lean heavily on (and often follow the wording of) the analysis of the legislation and related issues contained in the Fiscal Impact Reports prepared by the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) and the analyses prepared by the Legislative Education Study Committee.

Note that bill numbers shown were assigned for the 2017 NM Legislature Regular Session. When the bills are re-introduced in the 2018 or in the 2019 session, the numbers will differ.

Criminal Justice

HB 175 Isolated Confinement Act.

Description

Introduced by Antonio “Moe” Maestas and Patricia A. Lundstrom, this bill would prohibit the use of solitary confinement for any inmate under 18 years of age, for individuals with an established mental health diagnosis, and for pregnant women after the first five days of confinement. It also requires quarterly reports on the use of solitary confinement from each correctional facility in the state.

History

Similar bills were introduced by Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (HB 242), and Mary Kay Papen (SB 185). HB 175 passed both the House (38:22) and the Senate (29:3); it was vetoed by the Governor.

Notes

As introduced, the bill defines “isolated confinement” as confinement of an inmate to a cell for 22 or more hours each day, with limited or no meaningful interaction with other people. Solitary confinement (corrections officials often prefer other terms, like restricted housing, segregated housing, or special management) is widely used in U.S. correctional facilities; exact numbers are unavailable, but estimates for the number of prisoners held in this way on any given day run from 25,000 (federal supermax prisons only) to 80,000 or 100,000 (all federal and state prisons). Sometimes segregated housing is used when individual prisoners break rules or engage in violent or disruptive behavior, to ensure the safety of staff and other inmates. Sometimes it is used preventatively to try to protect those at high risk of sexual assault or physical abuse.

The Vera Institute of Justice (an independent non-profit research organization) reports that effects observed in inmates confined in this way include hypersensitivity to stimuli, hallucinations, severe and chronic depression, diminished impulse control, self-mutilation, and reduced brain function (including declines in EEG activity after only seven days of segregation). Rates of suicide and self-harm are higher in segregation than in the general inmate population.

The disruptive behaviors which can result in an individual being placed in segregated housing include talking back to guards, using abusive language, not standing for a count, being out of place, failure to obey an order, failure to report for work or school, or possession of contraband such as small amounts of cash or underwear not issued by the prison. Segregated housing is not typically a short-term measure; the average stay in some states is measured in months, in others it is measured in years.

SB 7 Sexual Assault Kit Police Crime Lab.

Description

Introduced by Cisco McSorley, this bill would appropriate “$1.2 million from the general fund to the Local Government Division of the Department of Finance and Administration for a municipal police department crime laboratory to process sexual assault examination kits” in FY 2018 and 2019 (contingent on a matching appropriation of $2 million per fiscal year from the municipality).

History

Received a Do Pass recommendation from Senate Public Affairs Committee; referred to Senate Finance Committee; stalled there.

Notes

In 2016, the Office of the State Auditor reported that New Mexico had 5,440 Sexual Assault Evidence Kits which had never been sent to a lab for DNA testing; of these, 3,476 were from APD. “Some of the Kits were 20 years old.” $1.2 million was appropriated to clear the backlog of kits at the state Department of Public Safety; the U.S. Department of Justice contributed $2 million, and $7.5 million of bonds have been issued for the construction of a new Santa Fe Crime Lab and Evidence Center. DPS has also raised the salaries of forensic scientists to improve recruiting and retention (though DPS salaries are still below market rates for such personnel). SB 7 “will help clear the backlog of Kits not housed at DPS.”

SB 259 No Firearms for Those Subject to Orders of Protection.

Description

Introduced by Joseph Cervantes, the bill would require that when a court issues a restraining order in a case of domestic abuse, the court shall also order that the subject of the restraining order (the restrained party) relinquish all firearms and refrain from purchasing or receiving firearms.

History

Passed the Senate (25:15) and the House (43:22); vetoed by Governor.

Notes

Defines the relevant terms in such a way as to try to close the ‘boyfriend loophole’.

Economic Justice

HB 67 Increase Minimum Wage.

Description

Introduced by Miguel P. Garcia, this bill increases the state minimum wage in stages to $8.40 in 2018, $9.20 in 2019, and $10.10 in 2020. It provides for a cost of living adjustment (COLA). For tipped employees (those who regularly earn $30 or more per month in tips), the bill sets the minimum wage at 40% of the minimum wage for non-tipped employees ($3.36, $ 3.68, and $4.04 in 2018, 2019, and 2020).

History

Received a Do Pass recommendation (with amendments) from House Labor and Economic Development Committee; stalled in House Business and Industry Committee.

Notes

The federal minimum wage (last raised in 2009) is $7.25; the state minimum wage is $7.50.

Many progressives favored bill HB 27 over this one; HB 27 would raise the state minimum wage to $15.00. This bill sets a lower target, which may make it more feasible to pass: it does not require employers in low-wage areas of the state to double the wages of their minimum-wage employees, and it phases in the increase in three installments. Both the state and school districts around the state have significant numbers of minimum wage employees, so one side effect of any increase will be to require budget increases for wages. Both HB 27 and this bill provide for increases based on the regional cost of living.

The 40% provision regarding tipped employees remains a big jump, however justified: currently the minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13, so the initial year requires a 57% rise in the minimum wage of non-tipped employees (compared to a 12% rise for others).

HB 26 & SB 15 Small Loan Interest Caps (Pay Day Lenders).

Description

Introduced by Patricia Roybal Caballero and William P. Soules. It would provide an array of consumer protections for certain types of loans, specifies a range of information that must be disclosed, and improves consumer protection through the entire loan process. In addition, it limits loan rates to 36% on loans under $5000 and limits the amount that can be applied as penalty for failure to repay on a timely basis.

History

HB 26 was referred to the House Business and Industry Committee, which did not report it out. SB 15 was referred to the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, which did not report it out.

Notes

Instead of this bill, the legislature adopted and the governor signed HB 347, which imposes a maximum Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 175%. We expect the fight for a 36% cap to resume in 2019.

Education

HJR 1 Permanent Funds for Early Childhood.

Description

Introduced by Antonio “Moe” Maestas and Javier Martínez, this joint resolution would, if approved by voters in a statewide referendum, change the state constitution to require the Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) to provide additional yearly distributions of 1 per cent from the fund to educational and early childhood educational (ECE) services, starting in fiscal year 2020.

History

Passed (37:32) in House; referred to Senate Rules Committee; no action there.

Notes

This fund was originally created through land grants from the Federal Government to the State of New Mexico. New Mexico has the largest Land Grant Permanent Fund at 12 billion dollars. It was intended to fund education. It is not a ‘rainy day’ fund or a retirement fund. As reported by the Albuquerque Journal, 81% of New Mexicans approve of using the Land Grant Permanent Fund to fund Pre-K education. Additionally, it would create 4,000 jobs over 4 years that would primarily be filled by women in rural areas. This money would support programs that are already established.

HB 105 Innovations in Teaching Act.

Description

Introduced by G. Andres Romero and Nathan P. Small, this bill would reduce the degree to which standardized testing results are used in teacher evaluations and create an “Innovations in Teaching” program in the Public Education Department, under which teachers can propose projects of up to three years using innovative teaching approaches. The Public Education Department would be authorized to waive the use of standardized assessments in the teacher’s evaluation for up to two years of such projects.

History

Passed House (37:30) and Senate (23:13); vetoed by Governor Martinez.

Notes

The bill would give teachers the flexibility to experiment with one or more pedagogical approaches and strategies to engage and teach all their students and would foster the use of innovative teaching, with the goal of engaging students in learning and the love of learning while at the same time improving their academic achievement and promoting their success in public school and life.

Election Reform

SB 96 Campaign Finance Fixes.

Description

Introduced by Peter Wirth and James E. Smith, this bill defines “independent expenditures” and “coordinated expenditures” and would require those who make independent expenditures (i.e. informal campaign organizations that are not supposed to be working with or coordinating with a candidate) to file reports with the Secretary of State disclosing their identity and location of actions taken by the group. It also deletes some sections of current law which have been ruled unconstitutional in the light of U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

History

Passed Senate (36:6) and House (41:24); vetoed by Governor Martinez.

Notes

If passed this would require the source of last minute ‘hit pieces’ conducted by individuals or groups to be disclosed. The Secretary of State reports that the bill simplfies the rules for contributions and would make education, enforcement, and administration of campaign contribution limits easier.

HB 28 Driver’s License Automatic Voter Registration.

Description

Introduced by Patricia Roybal Caballero, this bill would require the NM Motor Vehicles to provide county clerks with contact and identifying information for all individuals who have applied for a driver’s license or identification and require county clerks to notify these individuals that they will be automatically registered to vote unless within 21 days they ask not to be registered.

History

Passed 56:10 in the House; reported out with amendments and without recommendation by the Senate Rules Committee; no action in Senate Judiciary Committee.

Notes

The original bill described an opt-out system: citizens could decline to register to vote, but the registration would be the default action. Amendments by the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee changed this to an opt-in system.

HJR 3 Independent Commission to Conduct Redistricting.

Description

Introduced by Carl Trujillo and Bill O’Neill, the bill would create an independent commission responsible for creating a redistricting plan that would lead to more representative State and Congressional district boundaries and eliminate gerrymandered districts. It does this by proposing a constitutional amendment to Article 20 of the state Constitution that creates a five-member commission with the authority to redistrict the congressional, legislative, public regulation commission, and public education commission districts. Racial and ethnic population and voting performance data would be considered if necessary to evaluate compliance with the federal constitutional and statutory requirements of redistricting. The bill also makes other proposals for necessary changes elsewhere in the State Constitution and provides a legal framework for the nomination of members of the redistricting commission.

History

Do Pass recommendation from House State Government, Indian and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee recommended a substitute bill. House Judiciary Committee took no action before end of session.

Notes

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that such redistricting commissions are in use for state legislative districts in 23 states, either drawing the plan, advising the legislature on drawing the plan, or acting as a backup if the legislature fails to agree on a plan; thirteen states have such commisions for congressional districts.

Energy

SB 312 Renewable Energy Requirements for Utilities.

Description

Introduced by Mimi Stewart and Nathan P. Small, the bill would require that renewable energy make up 80% of total retail sales to New Mexico customers of investor-owned public utilities by 2040 and provides a graduated scale of requirements to guarantee reaching 35% renewable by 2025, 50% by 2030, 65% by 2035, and 80% by 2040. Rural electrical cooperatives would have a similar but lower graduated scale (25%, 40%, 55%, and 70% on the dates indicated). The bill also describes an annual reporting process to the PRC and guidelines for PRC oversight of public utilities.

History

SB 312 received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Conservation Committee, then proceeded to the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, which took no action before the end of the session.

Notes

While renewable power technologies continue to improve rapidly, some researchers argue that a shift to 100% renewables would be feasible (and cost-neutral, if costs externalized by existing energy producers, like health care costs related to air pollution), even using existing technology.

The current renewable portfolio standards require that renewable sources account for 20% of the energy sold by investor-owned public utilities and 10% of that sold by rural cooperatives.

SB 342 & HB 338 Community Solar Gardens Act.

Description

Introduced by Linda M. Lopez (SB 342) and Patricia Roybal Caballero (HB 338), the bill would promote the development of solar gardens statewide. A solar garden is a solar electric generation facility that can generate no more than 10 megawatts of power and that has subscribers who are allocated a share of the electricity generated.

History

SB 342 received a Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Conservation Committee, then proceeded to the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, which took no action before the end of the session.
HB 338 received Do Pass recommendations from the House State Government, Indian and Veterans’ Affairs Committee and (with amendments) the House Judiciary Committee. It died on the House floor (31:34, with 1 excused and 4 absent).

Notes

A community garden enables a community, business or other organization to develop their own energy generation without waiting for the utility provider in their area (e.g. PNM) to move to renewable energy. This bill would give lower income or isolated communities better access to solar energy.

SB 307 Oil & Gas Act Powers & Penalties.

Description

Introduced by Richard C. Martinez, this bill would amend the Oil and Gas Act to allow for civil and criminal penalties for violation of the Oil & Gas Act, stipulating fines of up to $10,000 per day, per violation for unlawful discharge of contaminates.

History

Received Do Pass recommendations from Senate Conservation Committee and (with amendments) Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate Finance Committee took no action before the end of the session.

Notes

The number of spills has increased in recent years. Yet no penalties have been reported. The civil penalties imposed on violators of the Oil & Gas Act have not been increased since 1935, which is stated as not more than $1000 for each day of violation. It also establishes that anyone knowingly violating any provision of the Oil & Gas Act shall be guilty of a 3rd degree felony. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that the agency responsible for enforcement does not have the authority to impose administrative penalties but instead must rely on the Attorney General to file a lawsuit against the violator. This bill would increase penalties to rates comparable to those of neighboring states and give authority to the Oil Conservation Division and Oil Conservation Commission to impose civil penalties after a hearing has taken place.

Healthcare

HB 101 & SB 172 Health Security Act.

Description

Introduced by Howie C. Morales and Carlos R. Cisneros (SB 172), and Roberto “Bobby” J. Gonzales and Deborah A. Armstrong (HB 101), this bill would effectively create universal access to healthcare in NM, creating a commission to oversee the implementation of the bill. It is designed to contain healthcare costs for consumers and ensure timely, affordable access to effective healthcare statewide.

History

SB 172 was referred to the Senate Public Affairs Committee, which recommended a substitute bill; it then was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which took no action on it. HB 101 was referred to the House Health and Human Services Committee, which recommended a substitute bill; the House Judiciary Committee made a Do Pass recommendation on the substitute bill; the bill was then re-referred to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, which took no action on it before the end of the session.

Notes

According to the Legislative Finance Committee, in 2015 and estimated 10.9% of New Mexicans (227,000 people) lacked health insurance; this is down from 19.6% in 2010.

Immigration

HB 116 & SB 270 No Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Law.

Description

Introduced by Patricia Roybal Caballero and Angelica Rubio (HB 116), and Linda M. Lopez (SB 270), the bill would prohibit law enforcement agencies of the state or political subdivision from using state funds, equipment, personnel or resources and from accepting or using federal funds, equipment, personnel or resources for detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation is being in the United States illegally. The bill excludes the Workforce Solutions Department.

History

HB 116 received Do Pass recommendations from House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee and (with amendments) House Judiciary Committee. Placed on House calendar, but no action taken before end of session.
SB 270 received Do Pass recommendation from the Senate Public Affairs Committee; the Senate Judiciary Committee substituted its own version of the bill. Placed on Senate calendar, but no action was taken before the end of the session.

Notes

The bill does not prohibit the use of state or federal resources to arrest such individuals if they commit any crime in New Mexico, including illegal entry on private property after crossing the Mexican border.

It is sometimes asserted that federal immigration law pre-empts state law and that legislation of this kind violates the constitution. Federal law does pre-empt state law that attempts to restrict or regulate immigration, but this and similar bills concern public safety and the setting of priorities for the expenditure of state funds. They are not pre-empted by federal law, and the constitution does not permit the federal government to compel the states to enforce federal immigration laws.

HB 292 No State Land for Border Wall.

Description

Introduced by Javier Martínez, Linda M. Trujillo, Christine Trujillo, Angelica Rubio, and Bill McCamley, this bill would prohibit the use, sale, lease, ease, transfer, or other disposal of property owned or held in trust by New Mexico for use as a site for a federal barrier along the U.S. – Mexico border. The bill does not apply to barriers to prevent the movement of livestock.

History

Referred to House State Government, Indian and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which returned a Do Pass recommendation. Tabled ‘temporarily’ in House; no action.

Notes

A sixty-foot strip of land on the U.S. side of the border was set aside in 1907, over which the state has no control; the restrictions in the bill would have an effect only if (as is expected) a border wall would involve land outside that strip. The legislation has in part symbolic value: the federal government could overcome the effect of the law by exercising its right of eminent domain, taking the land and providing compensation. But the associated litigation would presumably delay construction.

Indigenous People

HB 150 & SB 33 Local Community and Tribal Health Needs.

Description

Introduced by Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (HB 150) and Howie C. Morales (SB 33). These companion bills would appropriate $700,000 from the general fund to the Department of Health to fund [county and] tribal health councils’ identification of local communities’ health needs and development of strategies to address those needs pursuant to the Maternal and Child Health Plan Act.

History

HB 150 was referred to House Health and Human Services Committee, which reported it out with a Do Pass recommendation; it was referred to House Appropriations and Finance Committee; no action there. SB 33 was referred to Senate Indian and Cultural Affairs Committee, which recommended passage; referred to Senate Finance Committee; no action there.

Notes

Research by the NM Public Health Association and UNM showed that over a three-year period, county and tribal health councils matched every dollar received from the state with over three dollars raised elsewhere. The councils know their local communities well and can invest in effective methods of improving health and reducing disease, which saves lives and reduces social costs over the long run.

HB 150 has been re-introduced in the 2018 session, for which it was assigned the number HB 45.

LGBTQ Rights

SB 115 Safe Schools for All Students Act.

Description

Introduced by William P. Soules, this bill would direct the Public Education Department to develop rules that require school districts to develop and implement bullying prevention programs.

History

Passed in Senate (32:10); House Education Committee and House Judiciary Committee recommended passage; no vote taken in House.

Notes

The state Department of Health reports that 18.4% of New Mexico students were bullied within the past year on school property; 8.5% were in a physical fight on school property. The bill emphasizes the need to address the safety concerns of LGBTQ youth, who (studies show) face a more hostile environment than their non-LGBTQ peers.

SB 120 Vital Record Sex Designation.

Description

Introduced by Jacob Candelaria, the bill would make it easier for individuals to change the sexual identification stipulated in their birth records. It would remove the current requirement that a physician certify that the individual’s sex has been changed by surgery, replacing it with a requirement that in the [health care] provider’s opinion the record should be changed.

History

Passed in Senate (28:0) and House (36:26); pocket vetoed by Governor.

Notes

Some research suggests that as many as 0.3 per cent of U.S. adults self-identify as transgender. (The number of those who have had sex-reassignment surgery performed is lower.)

Some states (e.g. Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon) have recently relaxed their requirements for vital-records updates in ways similar (but not necessarily identical) to that proposed in this bill. In others (Kansas), there have been proposals to make the requirements more stringent.

Tax & Revenue

HB 201 New Top Income Tax Bracket.

Description

Introduced by Daymon Ely, this bill would create a new tax bracket for high-income households in New Mexico. Existing brackets and rates (from 1.7% to 4.9%) would remain the same; a new rate of 5.9% would apply to taxable income over $306,667 (single filers), $460,000 (married filing jointly), or $230,000 (married filing separately).

History

Reported with Do Pass recommendations by House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee and House Taxation and Revenue Committee; tabled on House floor.

Notes

The Legislative Finance Committee estimates the bill would generate $27 million annually. Note that prior to 2003 the top rate was 8.1% on income over $100,000.

SB 264 Taxation of Internet Sales Act.

Description

Introduced by James P. White and Carl Trujillo, this bill would modify the rules for Gross Receipts Tax so as to require large out-of-state vendors to collect and pay New Mexico sales tax on sales to New Mexico residents. The primary effect would be on Amazon, eBay, and similar large internet-based vendors, and on independent vendors who use their sales platforms (such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace); large mail-order vendors would also be affected. Small vendors (less than $100 thousand in annual gross receipts) with no physical presence in New Mexico would remain exempt from New Mexico gross receipts tax.

History

SB 264 was referred to the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, which reported a Do Pass recommendation. It was then referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee; no action there.

Notes

Currently, the state does not collect gross receipts tax on internet sales, which gives internet vendors an unfair advantage over businesses operating in New Mexico and paying New Mexico taxes, and deprives the state of significant revenue. Economists estimate that nationwide, state and local governments will lose about $34 billion in 2018 owing to the failure of Internet vendors to pay sales taxes. Apart from reducing state revenues, current law discourages the establishment of brick and mortar stores and the employment of local people and encourages out of state vendors to benefit from local infrastructure (e.g. the roads necessary to delivery of goods) without contributing to the upkeep of that infrastructure.

SB 278 & HB 89 Cannabis Revenue & Freedom Act.

Description

Introduced by Gerald Ortiz y Pino (SB 278) and Bill McCamley and Javier Martínez (HB 89), this bill would establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for legalizing the recreational purchase of marijuana by individuals 21 and over. It would establish a Cannabis Control Board charged with developing rules for both medical marijuana and more general marijuana use, charge the Department of Revenue and Licensing with licensing production, processing, and sales (wholesale and retail) of marijuana, and establish an excise tax on marijuana items.

History

HB 89 was reported out of the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee without a recommendation. It then went to the House Business and Industry Committee; no action there. SB 278 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which reported a Do Pass recommendation on a substitute bill. It was then referred to the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee; no action there.

Notes

According to the federal data, the rates of teen marijuana use in Colorado and Washington – the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana – decreased more than the national average in 2014-2015. Slightly fewer teens in the two states are reportedly using marijuana than in 2012, before legalization efforts passed. According to one study, in the first year of implementation, recreational marijuana in Colorado created 18,000 jobs and generated $2.4 billion in economic activity.

Water & Land Use

HB 418 Inter-basin Water Right Transfer Requirement.

Description

Introduced by Gail Armstrong, this bill would strengthen the restrictions governing the diversion of water from the basin of origin for use outside the basin. Persons intending to transfer groundwater to a location outside the water’s “area of origin” would be required to apply for permission from the Office of the State Engineer. That office would be required to consider whether the transfer accords with regional water plans in the move-from and move-to basins, whether the transfer will exceed the aquifer’s recharge rate, whether county commissions or acequias in the move-from basin oppose the transfer, and the availability of alternative sources for the water.

History

Referred to House Agriculture, Water, and Wildlife Committee, which replaced it with a substitute bill. Referred to House Energy and Natural Resources Comittee, which replaced it with a substitute bill. No House vote.

Notes

This would limit diversion of water from agricultural use to urban and/or other developments.

SB 350 Agricultural Land Valuations Act.

Description

Introduced by Peter Wirth and Steven P. Neville, the bill would benefit owners of unimproved land manged in accordance with a qualified conservation management plan. The plan would at a minimum maintain or increase the productivity of the land, rangeland, watershed and forest health, wildlife habitat or soil and water conservation. The unimproved land would be valued at twenty five percent of the current and correct value. Additionally, land owners would have to apply for this special classification and would be penalized if they failed to report a change in the purpose of the land.

History

Passed Senate (30:10); referred to House Taxation and Revenue Committee, no action there.

Notes

The bill provides incentive for land owners to keep their undeveloped land instead of selling it for development.

Wildlife Protection

SB 268 Prohibit Coyote-Killing Contests.

Description

Introduced by Jeff Steinborn and Mark Moores, this bill would make it a misdemeanor to organize, cause, sponsor, arrange, or hold a coyote-killing contest and a petty misdemeanor to participate in one. A coyote-killing contest is defined as a competition with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment.

History

Passed Senate (26:15); Do Pass recommendation from House Judiciary Committee; no floor vote in House.

Notes

SB 268 was introduced in response to a rise in coyote killings in New Mexico (566 coyotes were intentionally killed with firearms in New Mexico in 2015).

SB 286 NM Wildlife Protection & Public Safety Act.

Description

Introduced by
Pete Campos,

this bill would make illegal the use of poison or traps designed to kill or capture wildlife on public lands, except under specific contexts identified in the bill. It does not prohibit traditional forms of hunting or fishing.

History

Referred to Senate Conservation Committee; no action there.

Notes

Poison and traps can kill or maim not only the intended wildlife but also pets and children who wander onto public lands.

SB 81 Wildlife Trafficking Act.

Description

Introduced by
Mimi Stewart and
Gail Chasey,

this bill would define the activity of trafficking certain protected or threatened animal species, parts, and products; criminalize the defined conduct; and provide for corresponding penalties. The bill authorizes enforcement by any commissioned New Mexico law enforcement officers, including officers employed by Department of Game & Fish or the State Parks Division.

History

Passed Senate (27:12) and House (42:24); pocket-vetoed by governor.

Notes

With regards to the enforcement powers as defined under the proposed bill, crimes committed are currently under the jurisdiction and authority of the federal government. New Mexico Conservation Officers currently assist U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents when feasible but all criminal investigations and charges are brought forward by the federal agents who work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in federal courts. This bill would allow New Mexico law enforcement officers to take direct enforcement actions defined under the proposed language. It provides additional opportunities for the apprehension of those individuals engaged in illegal wildlife trafficking.

Studies have shown that wildlife trafficking coincides with human trafficking and New Mexico is reported to be one of the top destinations for victims and traffickers.

Women’s Rights

HB 284 Health Coverage for Contraception.

Description

Introduced by Deborah A. Armstrong, Patricia Roybal Caballero, Joanne J. Ferrary, Christine Trujillo, and Linda M. Trujillo, this bill would modify the Health Purchasing Act to mandate coverage of contraceptive medications and procedures by health plans operating in the NM exchange, to include a selection of contraceptive methods representative of the variety of medications and procedures approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Insurers are prohibited from imposing co-pays or barriers such as utilization review. The bill also provides detailed guidelines governing how contraceptive services should be delivered and prescriptions filled. Religious entities that offered individual or group health maintenance organization coverage to employees would be permitted to refuse to cover contraceptive drugs or devices.

History

Passed House (39:29); Do Pass recommendation from Senate Public Affairs Committee; no action by Senate Judiciary Committee.

Notes

The Guttmacher Institute estimates that every dollar spent on family planning in the U.S. averts seven dollars in medical expenditures. In Colorado, a philanthropic effort to make long-acting reversible contraceptive methods available to all women resulted in 40% reductions in both unplanned births and abortions.

To a large extent the bill codifies the contraception mandate of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the federal regulatory guidelines put into place in 2012; it thus serves to protect New Mexico citizens against attempts to repeal the ACA or weaken its coverage requirements. If the bill does not become law, then repeal or changes to the Affordable Care Act might restrict some women’s access to contraceptive services, resulting to an increase in unplanned pregnancies and the costs attendant on that.

HB 179 Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act.

Description

Introduced by Gail Chasey, Deborah A. Armstrong and Joanne J. Ferrary, this bill would prohibit discrimination in employment related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to applicants or employees in need of reasonable accommodation related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition unless doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer. “Reasonable accommodation” and “undue hardship” are both defined.

History

Passed House (51:14) and Senate (17:16); vetoed by Governor Martinez.

Notes

The Department of Health reports that 57.8 per cent of all women giving birth in 2013-2014 had a paying job while pregnant; of these, only 40 per cent had paid maternity leave, and many felt the need to return to work immediately after giving birth. The bill would prevent employers from requiring that mothers take leave when reasonable accommodations might allow them to work.