2021 Bills We Support

Below are our Transformational Bills, where we will focus most of our advocacy efforts, and Priority Bills, that we support but can’t put as much energy into. To learn about our legislative strategy to pass these bills, and the criteria we used to select them, go to this link.

These bills have been vetted with partners, allies, our Transformation Study Group, and our Board. While we often seek input from allies about bills they are advancing, that does not mean all of our allies support our bills.

Bills are listed by number, House bills first, then Senate bills. Then we list bills that have not yet been introduced or assigned numbers. Note that some bills have “companion” bills, i.e. identical bills in the House and Senate.

If the title is highlighted in blue, click for a summary/ talking points.

2021 Transformational Bills

  1. HJR 1 Permanent Fund for Early Childhood Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Javier Martinez and Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas. This legislation, if approved by voters in a statewide referendum, would change the state constitution to require the Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) to provide additional yearly distributions of 1% to early childhood educational (ECE) services (nonsectarian and nondenominational). This 1% would increase the current distribution of 5% to 6%, a conservative amount. Go here for bill language.
    HJR 1 Committee Path: HCEDC: Pass 6:4 HEC Pass 9:6. Passed House on 2.16, 44-23 with Rep Sweetser being the only Dem to vote no. In Senate Finance Saturday, 3.13 and then only must pass on the Senate Floor. We will know our message to Senate Dems once we hear the SFC hearing. This could be the year.
  2. HB 7/SB 10 Repeal Abortion BanUPDATED 1-22-21. HB 7 and SB 10 are identical companion bills. HB 7 was introduced by Rep. Micaela, Lara Cadena, Rep. Brian Egolf, Rep. Joanne Ferrary, Rep. Debbie Armstrong, and Rep. Georgene Louise. SB 10 was introduced by Senators Linda Lopez and Peter Wirth. Both bills repeal a 1969 NM statute that makes it a 4th-degree felony for physicians to perform an abortion except in cases of rape, incest or likely birth defects, or to protect the life of the mother. The Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade in 1973 made the state statute unenforceable, but with the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Roe v Wade is in real danger of being gutted. To protect New Mexico women’s right to choose, repealing this outdated legislation is a high priority. Go here for HB 7 bill language,
    HB 7 Committee Path: HHHC: Pass 8:3 HJC: Pass 8:4 (Votes so far on party lines. Yes elections can be important.) Passed on the House Floor 45-27, with Sen. Campos and Sen. Muñoz being the only Dems to fail to support it. on 2.17. Passed House Judiciary. Passed on the House Floor and signed into law by the Governor.
  3. HB 12 Cannabis Regulation Act Four Cannabis bills have been introduced this year: HB 12, HB 17, SB 13, and SB 288. Without analyzing the hundreds of pages contained in those four bills, we are going with HB 12 because of its reliably progressive sponsors: Reps. Javier Martinez, Andrea Romero, and Deborah Armstrong (unlike sponsors of the other three.) And we just learned from the Drug Policy Alliance that HB 12 is the only one of the four that has justice and equity at its core. Our summary linked above assumes that HB 12 is similar to progressive cannabis legislation introduced in 2019: the bill would legalize recreational marijuana for people 21 or older in New Mexico, and the state could tax marijuana sold in licensed stores, mostly small businesses. It would set a 9% excise tax and allow a municipal cannabis tax and a county cannabis tax of up to 4% each, plus GRT on non-medical cannabis purchases. It would automatically seal certain cannabis-related criminal records and allow for the possible recall or dismissal of the sentence for a person currently incarcerated for cannabis offenses that would no longer be violations under the new law. It would create a tightly regulated system of approved licensees with strict rules and regulations, similar to those governing the production and sale of tobacco or alcohol. There are three other bills that would legalize recreational cannabis, however, after a close review, this is the one we favor. Go here to read the bill language.
    HB 12 & HB 17 Committee Path: Has passed through the house and Senate Rules and is sitting in Sen. Judiciary. At Friday’s SJC hearing, the chair, Sen. Cervantes, indicated that it would be heard on time to get to the floor. We get this, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to push Sen. Judiciary Dems to press Cervantes to bring the bill soon.
  4. HB 16 Rural Opportunities Interim Committee. Sponsored by Rep. Roger Montoya, the Rural Opportunity Act addresses the severe disparity between rural and urban communities in New Mexico. This legislation would create an Interim “Rural Opportunity Committee,” with membership coming from key interim Committees. Each year the Committee would develop a legislative proposal to ensure access for every New Mexican to running water, wastewater treatment services, electricity, and broadband internet by no later than calendar year 2030. The goal is to provide measurable and quantifiable benchmarks in achieving these goals. The committee would also develop a long range plan to identify barriers to economic and educational opportunities in rural areas of the state and propose policies to reduce or eliminate those barriers; assess all potential funding sources and opportunities for investment in infrastructure, economic development, education and health care in rural areas of the state. Go here for bill language.
    HB 16 Committee Path: Only must pass Senate Rules before it goes to the Senate floor.I have to think this gets done as it has passed two committees and the House floor without a single no vote. A win.
  5. HB 20-HB 37 Paid Sick Leave sponsored by Rep. Angelica Rubio, Rep. G. Andres Romero and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero. HB 37 would provide mandatory paid sick leave for all New Mexico employees, including part-time, seasonal, or temporary workers. One hour of paid sick leave would accrue for every 30 hours worked. Sick leave can be used for one’s own medical needs, to care for a sick family member, when one’s place of business or child’s school closes for public health reasons, during a public health emergency, or to deal with domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. The definition of “family member” is broad and reflects the diversity of caregiving relationships. The legislation would have no effect on employers who already provide more generous sick leave policies We are waiting on bill language to see any possible protections offered to smaller workplaces. HB 20 is very similar to HB 37 and we hope that sponsors for the two bills will find a way to integrate the two.
    Click here for HB 20 bill language.
    HB 20 Committee Path: Passed in House Labor, Veterans & Military Affairs, House Judiciary. House Floor and and now has its last committee hearing in Sen. Tax, Business and Transportation before the Senate Floor. With the Governor having blessed this bill, I think we get it done. But email/calls to members of STBTC should call for the bill to be heard as soon as possible.
    Click here for HB 37 bill language.
    HB 37 Committee Path: House Labor, Veterans & Military Affairs, then House Judiciary.
  6. HB 40 Private Detention Center Moratorium. Sponsored by Rep. Angelica Rubio and advanced by People Over Private Prisons New Mexico (POPP NM). This proposed legislation would prohibit the operation and management of a detention facility in New Mexico by a private contractor – it would make private incarceration illegal. No state or local government entity could enter into new contracts, renew, extend, or expand any existing agreements that now exist between private contractors and New Mexico government bodies. Nationally, and in New Mexico, the number of people incarcerated is declining. Despite this, private prison contractors continue to pursue incarceration for profit, while making false promises that state and local economies would benefit from privatization. With a history of serious and chronic violations in privately-run facilities, private prison corporations continue to advance their profiteering while failing to fix abundant documented problems. Given the financial and human costs of privatized detention, now made more acute by a global pandemic, it is time to end the costly business of private detention in New Mexico. Click here to read a useful description of the need for this bill and how it would be implemented.
    Click here for HB 40 bill language.
    HB 40 Committee Path. Passed on party vote in House Consumer and Public Affairs (1/28), passed in Judiciary, on to House Appropriations and Finance where it has sat for six weeks and will not emerge. Dead for this session.
  7. HB 47/SB 308 Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options. Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Armstrong, Rep. Day Hochman-Vigil, Sen. Liz Stefanics, and Sen. Bill O’Neill, the bill allows a prescribing healthcare provider to prescribe “medical aid in dying medication” under certain conditions. The patient must request the medication voluntarily, have a terminal illness (with a life expectancy of less than six months), have capacity to understand their options, and possess the ability to self-administer the medication. The health care provider must discuss it with the patient; the bill lists a number of topics that must be covered. The bill identifies a patient’s right to be informed of their legal options. The death certificate in cases where this law is applied will list the patient’s underlying illness as cause of death. Provisions in contracts, wills, agreements, or life insurance policies which restrict a person’s right to make or rescind a request for aid in dying are not valid. Insurers may not deny benefits on the grounds that aid in dying is available. A conscience clause prohibits civil and criminal liability for participating, or declining to participate, in medical aid in dying compliant with the Act. Healthcare providers will file reports; Department of Health will report on aggregate statistics. The definition of the felony of assisting suicide is modified to exclude actions taken in accordance with the end-of-life options act. Click here for HB 47 bill language.
    HB 47 Committee Path: Passed House Health & Human Services and House Judiciary along party lines, passed on the House floor and Sen. Health and Public Affairs, so Sen. Judiciary is the only committee left before the Senate Floor. It is on SJC agenda for Saturday 3.13. So this could get done.
    SB 308: Link to bill language and committee path are in the Senate bill section, but it is not going to budge.
  8. HB 86 Native American Library, Internet and Education. Sponsored by Rep. Derrick Lente. An aggregate total of $94.8 million is appropriated from the general fund to the Indian affairs department for expenditure in fiscal years 2021 through 2025 for the following purposes:  $65.7 million allocated to over 20 pueblos and tribes to plan, design, renovate, expand, construct, equip and furnish libraries and education centers statewide for Indian nations. The remainder of the funding would enable indigenous schools, colleges and community learning institutions to create or improve high speed internet and purchase curriculum and other educational materials. It is well-established that indigenous communities are hampered by a lack of educational infrastructure and internet access. HB 86 has been crafted to address this disparity.
    Click here for HB 86 bill language.
    HB 86 Committee Path: Passed House Education on a 15-0 vote, now on to House Appropriations & Finance where it has stalled since Feb.4. Curious because it passed unanimously in HEC. Dead.
  9. HB 149 / SB 66 Installment Loan Rate Changes. Info on SB 66 can be found in the Senate bills below, but the two bills are identical. HB 149 sponsored by Rep. Susan Herrera, Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, and Rep. Joy Garratt and SB 66 introduced by Senator Bill Soules (D-Las Cruces), would both cap the interest rate for small and installment loans from storefront lenders at 36%, replacing the current cap of 175% imposed in 2017. The current rate of 175% still burdens the most economically vulnerable residents of our state, especially during the COVID pandemic when people need help, not to be taken advantage of. The 36% cap would bring our state in line with most other states’ caps and matches the federal interest cap for military families. Both bills also prohibit a number of ways in which predatory lenders can charge fees and penalties that can result in loans just as unsupportable as loans with a 175% interest rate. New Mexicans for Fair Lending Coalition is supporting both HB 149 and SB 66. The Coalition includes Think NM, the Center on Law & Poverty, Prosperity Works, Native American Voters Alliance, New Mexico Voices for Children, the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry and the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. The Commission members have committed to supporting an all-inclusive 36%, not 36% plus other fees and charges.) Both bills are based on the Military Lending Act, which was refined and improved in response to lenders finding loopholes in the original federal law. Both bills require that any and all charges made in association with the loan must be counted toward the 36% — this includes fees (origination, monthly, etc.) and ancillary products (like credit insurance, which many lenders like to sell to increase their profit margins). The bills reference the federal Truth in Lending Act, and makes sure everything disclosed under that act is included in the 36%, and then it goes beyond that act to capture any other charges and uses the Truth in Lending Act method of calculating the APR.
    Click here for HB 149 For bill language
    HB 149 Bill Path. House Commerce & Economic Development, then Judiciary.
    Passed House CECD, on to Judiciary.
    For SB 66 has only one stop left, House Judiciary, and then to the House Floor. I think this is the year, but call/emails to House Judiciary asking for SB 66 to be heard.
  10. HB 203 Health Security Planning and Design, advanced by Health Security for New Mexicans. Part of a multi-year implementation rollout, this year’s legislation, Health Security Planning and Design, will require a publicly accountable and transparent process for making HSA design decision and put those provisions in place so that enrollment can occur and providers can be paid. Public input will be sought, advisory committees will be created, and consultants will be hired during this critical process. Once implemented, the statewide HSA Plan will automatically cover nearly all New Mexicans, offer a comprehensive set of healthcare services, provide freedom of choice of healthcare provider and facility (no more networks) even across state lines, and will simplify administration since it is not dependent on the costly and complicated private insurance system. Studies by three independent researchers project significant savings for New Mexico and guaranteed comprehensive care for virtually all New Mexicans. Click here for bill language.
    HB 203 Committee Path: House Health & Human Services then House Appropriation & Finance. While stalled in House Appropriations, the bill sponsor cleverly developed another strategy using Junior Bill funding to support the planning and design process. This is even better than had HB 203 pass. Victory.
  11. HB 207 Food, Hunger and Farm Act. Sponsored by Representatives Melanie Stansbury and Joanne Ferrary. Discussions are still underway, but this will be a major bill focused on 1) improving local food systems and resilient agriculture, 2) strengthening food and water relief and recovery, and 3) addressing root causes of food insecurity. It will direct NMSU to create a roadmap for modernizing the food system including agricultural production, distribution, and the value chain infrastructure. It will maintain and expand investments in the agricultural and food infrastructure including support for operations and creation of data and information sharing systems for essential, real-time information about food hubs, cold storage, and transportation networks. For bill language, click here
    HB 207 Committee Path: House Agriculture & Water Resources, then Appropriations and Finance. Had been scheduled for first hearing 2.16, but pulled. Stuck in House Appropriations since then. It is an awful long way from the finish line. The bill would require a major push at this point especially since HAFC is the gatekeeper for legislation and so is likely dead.
  12. HB 236 / SB 313 Public Banking Act. Sponsored by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero. SB 313 is sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn. The two bills are identical companion bills. These bills authorizes creation of a public bank owned by the state of New Mexico that could finance New Mexico’s infrastructure projects, energy projects, small businesses, and economic development. It invests public funds (taxes and fees) and keeps them circulating in the state. It works in partnership with community banks, credit unions, and Community Development Financial Institutions to make loans that enhance local communities. Money which currently goes to debt service on bonds with out-of-state banks and to their investors remains in New Mexico for reinvestment. Pro Forma assumptions include $50 million in deposits to be moved to the public bank from Wells Fargo accounts in the first year, providing estimated ability to lend $44 million during the first year of operation bringing returns by the end of second year. Additional deposits would be transferred to the public bank in succeeding years to meet increasing liquidity demands. The argument we continue to hear is that a public bank will compete with community banks. This is simply not true. Retake recommends sharing this piece with your legislator and reinforcing how a public bank would significantly improve the capacity of community banks and credit unions to make loans to small businesses in their community because rather than competing with the community banks, the Public Bank would be able to injected added capital into local community initiatives and small business ventures. Click here to review HB 236 bill language.
    HB 236 Committee Path: House Economic and Community Development, then House Judiciary.
    For SB 313 Committee Path and Bill Language see the Senate bill section below. Scheduled for 2.17 in HECD.
  13. HB 291 Tax Changes: UPDATED 2/25/2021. HB 291 is sponsored by Rep. Javier Martinez (who is chair of the HTRC). HB 291 includes several fixes to our tax code to make it more fair and to raise more revenue from stable revenue sources, so we are not so reliant on boom-or-bust oil and gas revenues. One of these changes is an increase in the personal income tax rate for those who earn the highest incomes. As our tax code stands now, those who earn $25,000 pay the same tax rate as those earning $250,000. HB 291 also calls for an increase in a tax credit for working families with children and an increase in a tax rebate that’s available to those with low incomes, including seniors. The bill would also limit the capital gains tax deduction. Together the bill puts more money in the pockets of low-income New Mexicans while increasing revenue for the state by closing loopholes. As the summary describes, achieving tax & revenue reform will involve passing multiple bills. Our bill summary will identify the specific bills we support to achieve this end and and also provides guidance as to how best to convey that support to legislators. but this bill is the most important of all the tax bills we support. In analyzing these individual bills we rely heavily on NM Voices for Children. We are also supporting four tax bills that fit under the umbrella of transformational tax reform. They are listed below. For full HB 291 bill language, click HB 291,
    HB 291 Committee Path: One Committee House Tax and Revenue and then folded into HB 2 the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

    HB  42 Low-Income Comprehensive Tax Rebate Changessponsored by Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), would update the 20-year-old LICTR rebate to adjust for inflation by changing the income threshold for qualified tax filers and increasing the amount of the rebate by 50%. Longstanding research shows the most effective ways to provide relief to families impacted by the pandemic, reduce poverty and recirculate money in local economies. Is through more equitable tax policy such as HB 42. Passed House Community & Public Affairs. Will be included in HB 2 the House General Appropriations bill.

    SB 89 Amend Personal Income Tax Brackets (Sen. Tallman) and SB 56 New Personal Income Tax Bracket (Sen. O’Neill).  While both bills take different approaches to reforming the personal income tax, both lead to improvements and so we support both these bills as does NM Voices for Children. Neither bill has budged. as of 2.16 and not on calendar.

    HB 122 Health Insurance Premium SurtaxThis tax would not actually increase insurance costs for consumers, as the tax is merely replacing an expiring federal tax in the same amount. Passed House Community & Public Affairs and then passed House Tax & Revenue. Will be included in HB 2 the House General Appropriations bill.

    HB 167 Increase Cigarette and Tobacco Product Taxes. We are still reviewing this bill, but while a regressive tax, raising tobacco taxes has proven to reduce initiation of use. Passed House Health & Human Services, on to House Tax & Revenue.
  14. SJR 3 Environmental Rights ActAKA The Green Amendment. Advanced by The Green Amendment for the Generations, this bill would ask voters to create a NM State Constitutional Amendment giving all New Mexicans a constitutional right to clean air, water, and land. These rights would become inherent, inalienable, and indefeasible, and among those rights reserved to all the people and on par with other protected inalienable rights. The amendment would mandate that our government officials respect and protect the right to clean air, water, and land for all residents of the state and give residents the right to legal redress if any of these rights are violated.
    Click here for SJR 3 bill language.
    SJR 3 Committee Path: Sen. Rules. Passed in Rules 7-4, on to Sen. Judiciary. This will be a challenging hearing, as Sen. Cervantes has been very problematic and he has refused comments in support of bills.
  15. SJR 4 Review of Salaries Every Two Years. A Path to a Paid Legislature. Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, this Joint Resolution would put on the ballot a Constitutional Amendment to empower the Ethics Commission to establish salaries for judges, legislators, and other state officials. If passed, the Ethics Commission could set salaries for legislators, significantly expanding the pool of New Mexicans who could reasonably serve in the legislature. Being a legislator is NOT a 30-day job one year and a 60-day job the next. Full and half-day Interim Hearings are conducted virtually year round. We need to pay our legislators for the work they do. Click here to review the full bill language.
    SJR 4 Committee Path: Passed Senate Rules on a 8-3 vote. On to Senate Judiciary

    SB 10 Repeal Abortion Ban. Short summary is under companion bill HB 7.
    Click here for SB 10 bill language.
    SB 10 Committee Path: Passed Senate Health & Public Affairs, passed the Sen. Judiciary 2.3.2021 party line vote. Passed Senate on 27-15 vote. On to the House Judiciary in a race to see which chamber gets it done first.

    SB 66 Permitted Percentage Rate for Loans. For more info, see HB 149 the House Companion bill.
    SB 66 / HB 149 Permitted Percentage Rate for Loans
    Click here for SB 66 bill language.
    SB 66 Committee Path: Passed Sen. Tax, Business & Transportation 7-4 (party lines). This is a big deal. Last year, it would have died in this committee, likely without a hearing, under Sen. Clemente Sanchez as chair. On to Sen. Judiciary
  16. SB 83 Local Choice Energy – UPDATED 1-23-21. Sponsored by Senators Jeff Steinborn and Benny Shendo. Local Choice Energy is also known as Community Choice Aggregation. The Act authorizes a municipality, county, Indian nation, tribe or pueblo to pool the electricity demand of multiple customers and procure power from an alternative supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from the existing utility. The Act would open electricity markets to competition and give communities control over which entity supplies their energy. Such competition is unlawful today with electricity supply residing within investor-owned monopoly utilities. Shifting to greater local control, residents have an increased voice in choice of power generation, energy conservation, and sustainability.
    Click here for SB 83 bill language.
    SB 83 Committee Path: Passed in Sen. Conservation 5-3 with Cervantes excused. On to Sen. Tax, Business & Transportation
  17. SB 86 Use of Water for Oil & Gas Operations. Sponsored by Senators Sedillo Lopez and Stefanics. Prohibits fresh water use in fracking, provides consequences for spills, directs that fines for spills pay for public compilation of oil and gas data, mandates rules to protect against oil and gas pollution, requires tracking of produced water, requires public disclosure of contaminants in produced water that is spilled or offered for reuse for non oil and gas purposes, sets forth legal requirements for rules governing use of treated produced water for reuse outside the oil field. Click here for bill language.
    SB 86 Committee Path: Passed Sen. Conservation by 5-4 vote with Sen. Cervantes voting no. Tabled in Sen. Judiciary with Senator Cervantes (Chair) refusing public comment from supporters, but giving 10 minutes to opponents.
  18. SB 112 Sustainable Economy Task Force, sponsored by Senator 5Mimi Stewart. A bill requiring the state to create a strategic plan for a sustainable economy that transitions New Mexico from reliance on fossil fuel revenue and jobs and achieves carbon neutrality. Specifies cabinet departments and state agencies whose representatives must convene a planning team to create and implement the strategic plan, chaired by the Office of the Governor. Requires stakeholder consultation with all affected communities including tribes and pueblos. Goals of the strategic plan include replacing both fossil fuel sector jobs and the roughly $2B per year in state tax revenue that will decline as the state economy moves to a sustainable economy not based on fossil fuel extraction. Click here for SB 112 bill language.
    SB 112 Committee Path: Passed in Sen. Conservation, 6-2. On to Senate Finance
  19. SB 155 Energy Transition Act Changes.  Advanced by Senators Bill Tallman and Liz Stefanics, it would revise current bill language that allows PNM to shift financial responsibility to ratepayers for all toxic economic liabilities from coal at the San Juan Generating Station, Four Corners Power Plant, and all its expensive nuclear and gas investments, costs that collectively are estimated by PNM to be $1 billion. None of the RPS (renewable portfolio standards) or worker relief elements of the bill would be altered, San Juan would still close, but ratepayers would be protected. For bill language, click here.
    Committee Path: Sen. Conservation tabled the bill with Sen. Cervantes and Sen. Hamblen joining the GOP Senators to kill the bill. It was a brutal hearing with Sierra Club coordinating one public comment after another from indigenous people talking about their need not to be left behind, which is true, but SB 155 would not have left them behind. Nonetheless, failing a miraculous resurrection, the bill is dead. If miracle occurs, then the bill goes to Business, Tax & Transportation, then Senate Finance.

    SB 308 / HB 47 End of Life Options
    For SB 308 Bill language click here. (See description above under HB 47.)
    SB 308 Committee Path: Senate Health & Public Affairs, then Senate Judiciary.

    SB 313 / HB 236 Public Banking Act. Sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn. For a brief description of the bill see HB 236 the companion bill for SB 313.
    Click here to review the bill language.
    Committee Path: Senate Tax, Business, & Transportation, then Sen. Finance. 2.16: Still not scheduled in STBT.
  20. Expand the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is an investment in a healthier New Mexico that is also key to getting our economy back on track. It will help workers meet basic needs and put more money back into the hands of New Mexico’s hard-working families, and into the businesses where they will spend it, Top beneficiaries include essential workers and people of color, who have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19. WFTC is proven to incentivize work and to improve physical and mental health by reducing financial hardship and giving families more money to spend on food and other household necessities. Businesses benefit too as the refunds are spent quickly and locally. The WFTC increase has been advanced by our ally the NM Voices for Children for years.

Transformational Bills being held to introduce in 2022 or later

  1. Oil & Gas Bonding Increase. This legislation would significantly increase the amount of capital a fracking operator must provide as a bond to pay for clean-up and capping of wells. It is estimated that current levels of bonding are $2 billion short of projected capping and clean-up costs, perhaps far more. The State Land Office is working on a report that would inform this legislation.
  2. Water Governance Reform Act. Sponsored by Representative Melanie Stansbury, this comprehensive bill advances steps to reform and modernize water governance in New Mexico, updating practices and approaches adopted in 1912 at the time of statehood. It advances steps to modernize the current water grid, taking advantage of new technologies and scientific research. It seeks to streamline the process by which water managers at multiple levels can access available funding. It addresses steps needed to redress the EPA’s 2020 rollback of water quality standards in the Clean Water Act as the changes impact New Mexico’s water, public health, and the environment. With a focus on restorative justice, this bill also seeks to improve the relationship of the state with tribal leaders around the issue of water management and access.

2021 Priority Bills


  1. HB 4 NM Civil Rights Act, sponsored by Reps. Georgene Louis and Brian Egolf. HB 4 would establish a right of action against any public body or person representing a public body for violation of an individual’s rights, privileges, or immunities under the NM constitution. It would prohibit the defense of qualified immunity in such actions and waive the defense of sovereign immunity in such actions. It would also set a 3-year statute of limitations and require that public bodies keep records of final judgments and settlements for claims under the civil rights act.
    Click here for HB 4 bill language.
    HB 4 Committee Path: Passed State Gov’t, Elections, Passed Indian Affairs (Passed 1/25. Party line vote. Passed Judiciary. Passed House. On to Senate.
  2. HB 9 Climate Solutions Act.  Sponsored by Rep. Melanie Stansbury, House Speaker Brian Egolf, Rep. Nathan Small, Rep. Angelica Rubio and Sen. Mimi Stewart. The bill would create the Climate Leadership Council, comprised of the secretaries of all cabinet departments as voting members; and (2) include as advisory members: (a) one representative of the state land office; (b) two representatives of tribal and local governments; (c) two representatives of disproportionately impacted communities; (d) three members, with one each having an expertise in mitigation, economic development or workforce development; (e) two members representing relevant industrial sectors that will be involved in implementing climate solutions; and (f) the members of the sustainable economic development subgroup that are not members of the council. C. The council shall be co-chaired by the secretary of energy, minerals and natural resources and the secretary of environment. The bill would require the Council to create a statewide framework for addressing climate change and developing sustainable economy, establishing statewide greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements, directing state agencies to adopt rules to achieve statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions and foster inclusion in workforce development and procurement related to climate solutions.  The legislation also requires the Council to report annually and make recommendations for prioritizing funding from the Clean Energy Grants Fund.
    For bill language click here.
    Committee Path: House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources then State Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs
  3. HB 15 Sustainable Building Tax Credit. House Bill 15 sponsored by New Mexico Representatives Kristina Ortez, builds upon a tax credit that has been instrumental in transforming the market for new buildings in New Mexico. Now, because our Energy Conservation Building Code was recently updated, a new 2021 SBTC must be adopted to keep New Mexico public policy up-to-date and to encourage and reward new buildings that exceed the code minimums. HB 15 creates new incentives for new homes and commercial buildings that include requirements such as broadband access and electric vehicle readiness and, for the first time, the credit also includes work on existing homes and buildings, including tax credits for installation of things such as Energy Star heat pumps, water heaters, windows and doors. Not only does this help lower energy bills for many New Mexicans, it improves community health through reduced emissions. A provision in the legislation allows double credits that are refundable for low-income New Mexicans or affordable housing. Click here for bill language.
  4. HB 50 Private Right of Action for Certain Statutes, introduced by Rep. Georgene Louis and advanced by NM Environmental Law Center. This legislation would enable citizens to file suit against gas and oil operators who cause them harm; currently such action must come from the State. This legislation would be strengthened with the passage of the Green Amendment.
    Click here for HB 50 bill language and to access a new Financial Impact Report.
    HB 50 Committee Path: House Energy & Natural Resources, passed by a 6-5 vote, and then on 3.6 passed Judiciary 7-4..
  5. HB 51 Environmental Database Act. Sponsored by Senator Mimi Stewart and Representative Gail Chasey. Establishes a single web-based information portal hosted by the Museum of Southwestern Biology at UNM to facilitate city, county, and public access to state environmental data. Provides for governmental transparency, agency cooperation, and information sharing, and access to current scientific data. Among sources of data that would be aggregated: NM EMNRD may include oil and gas wells and pipelines, active mines, utility scale solar and wind projects on state land, rare plant data, etc. NM ED may include locations of permits for sources of air pollution, surface waters, state superfund sites, etc. NM SLO may include locations of state trust land leases and active Rights of Way across state trust land, etc. Data from NM Dept. of Health may include health impact assessments, poverty levels by zip code, child asthma rates by zip code, etc.  Data from NM Dept. of Game and Fish may include critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, wildlife corridors, important bird/plant areas, fish management waters, etc.
    Click here for HB 51 bill language.
    HB 51 Committee Path: House Energy & Natural Resources passed 1.26, assigned to State Gov’t, Elections & Indian Affairs
  6. HB 85 Yazzie/Martinez Response Funding. Sponsored by Rep. Derrick Lente,  HB 85 would appropriate just under $5.75 million to fund collaboration, planning, and design of indigenous educational governance structures to ensure culturally appropriate educational curriculum in school districts statewide. It also provides approximately $14 million to fund the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate early childhood, after school, summer, and community education and technology curriculum and materials, assessment tools and teacher evaluation instruments, as well as to plan and design new facilities and to fund Native language programs, curriculum, staff development, and training to implement those programs.
    For a Fact Sheet on the bill from the Tribal Education Alliance click here.
    Click here for HB 85 bill language.
    HB 85 Committee Path: House Education and then Appropriations & Finance
  7. HB 89 Healthy Soil Tax Refund Contribution Option, sponsored by Reps. Jack Chatfield, Gail Armstrong, and Christine Chandler. HB 89 would enable NM residents who are eligible for a tax refund to donate the refund to the Healthy Soil Program which is administered by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA). There are about 17 wide-ranging state programs that residents can donate their refund to and this will add the NM Healthy Soil Program to the list. Enabling this tax rebate donation option for New Mexico residents provides a way to increase support for the successful Healthy Soil Program during these challenging financial times and beyond. It’s a voluntary way for NM residents to support farmers and ranchers in the pursuit of restorative agriculture and more nutritious food production. Supporting healthy soil supports public health, rural economic vitality, water security, environmental stewardship and resiliency.
    Click here for HB 89 bill language.
    HB 89 Committee Path: House Agriculture & Water, then Tax & Revenue
  8. HB 95 Water Administration. Introduced by Rep Andrea Romero, this bill amends current law and would require the Office of the State Engineer (OSE) to factor in Climate Change effects over a 40-yr period when assessing whether a water use will be contrary to the conservation of water or detrimental to the public welfare; allowing citizen standing to challenge an application before the OSE; requiring the OSE to publish findings in support of approving or denying an application and to be bound by the rationale in future decisions; directing the state water plan, water conservation plans and regional water planning to include consideration of climate change impacts on water supply and demand over a forty-year period; directing the OSE to adopt rules to address the impact of climate change on the state’s waters. Click here for HB 95 bill language,
    HB 95 Committee Path: House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources and Judiciary.
  9. HB 110 Phased in Minimum Wage. HB 110 would accelerate the scheduled raises to the minimum wage. It also deletes federal exclusions for employees 1) working in an executive, administrative, sales, or professional capacity; 2) engaged in educational, charitable, religious, or nonprofit organizations; and 3) paid by piecework, flat-rate schedules, or commissions. HB 110 deletes exclusions to the minimum wage for tipped, food processing, agricultural, and seasonal employees, as well as registered apprentices and trainees. It also deletes the exclusion for those 18 or younger who aren’t students. The minimum wage was just raised to $10.50 on 1/1/21. This bill would increase the 1/1/22 minimum from $11.50 to $12.00/hr. Under current law an increase to $12.00/hr is planned for 1/1/23. Under this legislation, there will be no minimum wage increase on 1/1/23, but one on 1/1/24 to $15/hr. Thereafter, cost of living adjustments will be applied yearly effective 1/1/25. Also, the $8.50/hr minimum wage for high school students is eliminated. Click here to get bill language.
    HB 110 Committee Path: Passed House Labor, Veterans’ And Military Affairs Committee 2/2/2021. On to House Community and Economic Development.
  10. HB 106 – SB 84 Community Solar Act. These are identical bills, sponsored by Senator Liz Stefanics, Senator Linda Lopez, and Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero. Community solar refers to local solar arrays shared by individual community members who receive credits on their electricity bills for their portion of the power produced. The Act would enable people who do not have the financial resources to install solar panels on their own homes to make use of New Mexico’s abundant solar power with a low-income assistance fund. Solar power generation facilities could be constructed and operated by subscriber organizations, which could be municipalities, pueblos, affordable housing providers, nonprofits, community-based organizations, or other entities. Subscribers to such community solar facilities would receive credit for the electrical energy that their subscription generates. The power generated by a community solar facility would be fed to the distribution system of a public utility (investor owned or rural cooperative) in whose territory the facility lies.
    Click here for HB 106 bill language.
    HB 106 Committee Path: House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources and Judiciary
    SB 84 is listed separately in the Senate section, below.
  11. HB 111. Housing Discrimination Changes. Sponsored by Rep. Andrea Romero and Rep. Angelica Rubio. HB 111 would: improve the balance between the rights of landlords and the rights of tenants – so families who can pay rent and comply with their lease are not evicted; reduce barriers to housing for New Mexicans using housing vouchers and other lawful sources of income such as social security income, child support, or housing assistance to pay rent; and create a statewide housing council to address housing policy and coordinate state resources directed to addressing housing in New Mexico. All New Mexicans need access to housing. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic hardship—as many as 42% of New Mexicans are now under threat of eviction. Even before the pandemic, NM had the highest increase of homelessness in the country between 2018 and 2019—an increase of 27%. NM also had the highest increase of chronic homelessness during the same period—an increase of 57.6%. Before the onset of the pandemic, approximately 16 New Mexico families were evicted from their home on any given day. Click here for bill language.
    Committee Path: House Consumer & Public Affairs and then Judiciary.
  12. HB 124 / SB 75 Disclosure of Sensitive Information: SB 75 is an identical companion bill. Info in the Senate section below. Sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia HB 124 prohibits state agencies from disclosing sensitive personal information such as a person’s status as a recipient of public assistance or as a crime victim, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, medical condition, immigration status, national origin or religion, and social security number or tax ID number. Exceptions can be made when disclosure is: 1) necessary to carry out a function of the state agency; 2) necessary to comply with an order or subpoena issued by a court of this state or a US district court; 3) required by the Inspection of Public Records Act; 4) required by federal statute; 5) made to or by a court in the course of a judicial proceeding or made in a court record; 6) made to a state contractor that needs the information to perform its obligations under the contract and has agreed in writing to be bound by the same restrictions on disclosure that are imposed on state employees by this section; 7) made pursuant to the Whistleblower Protection Act; or 8) made with the written consent of the person whose information would be disclosed. The bill’s primary purpose is to protect the identity of undocumented New Mexicans. See SB 75 below for more information. They are identical bills.
    HB 124 Committee Path: House State Gov’t, Elections, Land Grants & Cultural Affairs, then House Judiciary.
    To Review bill language, click here.
  13. HB 163 / SB 170 Require One Semester of Financial Literacy / Financial Literacy School Credit, sponsored by Reps. Madrid, Maestas and Dixon, and Senate companion bill sponsored by Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill. The bills focus on making financial literacy a graduation requirement. This is a needed bill because New Mexico currently ranks near the bottom of the nation for its financial literacy: 47out of 50 according to a 2019 study by WalletHub. Since 2008, financial literacy has been offered as an elective in New Mexico’s high schools, but only about 11% of eligible students currently enroll in the course. Twenty-one states have made financial literacy a graduation requirement in the last decade and are already seeing positive results. Teaching financial literacy is particularly important for students from low-income families, which research indicates have far less access to financial literacy courses than do their wealthier peers. When students increase their financial literacy, studies find that that they shift from high-cost to low-cost sources of credit and student loans. In addition, when high school students learn financial literacy, they often bring those lessons home to their parents, which benefits the whole family as part of statewide high school curriculum. Advanced by Think NM, this bill differs from HB 83, which only requires that the course be offered in all high schools as an elective but does not make it a graduation requirement.
    Click here to review full bill language for HB 163
    HB 163 bill path: Passed House Community & Economic Development unanimously, on to Education
    For SB 170 bill language and Committee Path see SB 170 among Senate bills.
  14. HB 193 Extreme Risk Protection Order Changes. Removes district attorneys’ offices and the attorney general’s office from the definition of “law enforcement agency”. Allows law enforcement officers to constitute a reporting party if they have probable cause to believe the respondent poses a significant danger to themselves or others. Requires law enforcement to take possession of firearms relinquished by the respondent or found in a lawful search. Changes reporting requirements: the administrative office of the courts is to transmit information about the respondent’s eligibility to possess firearms to the federal background check database (replaces a more convoluted process). Provides that evidence establishing ownership or possession of firearms presented to hearings under the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act shall not be admissible in any criminal proceeding. Click here to review the full bill language.

    HB 209/ SB 278 State Indian Child Welfare Act. See description and other details at SB 278 below.

    HB 211/SB 199 Redistricting Act. See description and other details at SB 199 below.
    HB 211 Committee Path: House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs (passed unanimously), then Judiciary.

  15. SJR 22 Ranked Choice Voting, Sponsored by Senator Bill Tallman and advanced by Common Cause, the bill would put before the voters to amend the state constitution to require all state and municipal elections, both partisan and non-partisan to utilize Ranked Choice Voting. Common Cause offers this excellent description of how RCV works.
    SJR 22 Committee Path: Senate Rules, then Senate Judiciary.
  16. SB8 Local Government Air Quality Regulations.  Advanced by NM Environmental Law Center and sponsored by Sen Peter Wirth , it would remove language in the Air Quality Control Act and the Hazardous Waste Act that forbids the state from creating more restrictive regulations governing air quality and hazardous waste management than are included in the Federal regulations. Click here for SB 8 full bill language.
    SB 8 Committee Path: Sen. Conservation, Judiciary & Finance. Tough with three committees.
  17. SB 58 Electric Vehicle Tax Credit. Sponsored by Senator Bill Tallman. A bill proposing a pair of personal income tax credits to incentivize purchase or lease of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles and the purchase and installation of an EV charging unit. EV vehicle credit of $2,500 with an increase to $5,000 for single taxpayers (income less than $50,000), married filing separately (income less than $37,000), and married filing jointly or head of households (income less than $75,000).
    Click here for SB 58 bill language.
    SB 58 Committee Path: Sen. Tax, Business & Transportation then Finance
  18. SB 75/ HB 124- State Agency Disclosure of Sensitive Information. Sponsored by Senator Sedillo Lopez. It is an identical companion bill of HB 124. To review a summary of both bills see HB 124 above.
    Click here for SB 75 bill language.
    Committee Path for SB 75: Sen. Health & Public Affairs, then Judiciary.

    SB 84. Community Solar. See HB 106 for a short summary. SB 85 an HB 106 are identical companion bill.
    SB 84 Committee Path: Sen. Conservation & Sen. Tax, Business & Transportation.
    Click here for SB 84 bill language and committee path.
  19. SB 100 Major and Minor Ballot Nominations. AKA Fusion Voting. Advanced by the Working Families Party. With fusion voting, a candidate can appear on the ballot as the nominee for more than one party — for instance, Democratic and Working Families parties — allowing a voter to support both the candidate and party platform of their choice. Voters have the option to vote for the party line that best represents their values. Fusion voting means two parties are working to get a candidate elected instead of one. Candidates do not have to be a party member in order to be nominated by a political party, and they do not need to be district residents at the beginning of an election cycle to be nominated for a district position. Provides for candidates to be on the ballot under multiple parties. In a primary election, a signature on a nominating petition shall be counted even if the person signing is not a member of the same political party as the candidate in the nominating petition. In the general election, the nominating petition does not need to include the party affiliation of the candidate.  Every candidate for a primary or general election can be a candidate for multiple parties. Deletes the requirement that certified candidates be district residents in a general election. Deletes requirement that a party candidate in a primary election cannot be a candidate for a different party in the general election. For bill language click here.
     Learn more at this link to nmfusion.org. 
    Committee Path: Senate Rules then Judiciary.
  20. SB 132 Photovoltaic Systems in New Homes, introduced by Senator Bill Soules, would require all new homes constructed after July 1, 2021 to have photovoltaic systems installed that provide at least one watt per square foot of heated area and at least one electrical receptacle for charging electric vehicles.
    Click here for SB 132 bill language.
    SB 132 Committee Path: Sen. Conservation then Tax, Business & Transportation
  21. SB 149 Prohibit New Fracking Leases. Sponsored by Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez. This bill would halt the issuance of new permits allowing hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of extracting oil or natural gas until 6/1/25. The State would be required to provide annual recommendations for legislation and regulation regarding hydraulic fracturing. Annually, the state would report on the following for oil and gas development that involves hydraulic fracturing: 1) number of active permits and applications; 2) trends for methane and greenhouse gas emissions globally, nationally, and statewide; 3) actual and potential agricultural impact; 4) actual and potential environmental impact; 5) actual and potential public health impact; 6) actual and potential impact of public transportation infrastructure; 7) actual and potential impact on surface and ground waters; 8) impact on tribal governments, trust lands, and allotted landowners; 9) workers comp claims filed for injuries due to employment; 10) the number of workers performing work. For full bill language, click here.
    Committee Path: Conservation, then Judicial, then Finance.

    SB 170 Financial Literacy School Credit, is Sponsored by Sen. Correa Hemphill. It is the companion bill of HB 163 sponsored by Rep. Madrid, Maestas and Dixon. See HB 163 above for description. The bills focus on making financial literacy a graduation requirement.
    For full bill language, click here.
    Committee Path: Sen. Education, then Health & Public Affairs
  22. SB 199/HB 211 Redistricting Act, companion bills advanced by Fair Districts for NM. SB 199/HB211 would create a 7-person State Redistricting Commission that would work with a professional services vendor hired by the Legislative Council, to develop three to five sets of districts maps for the: US Congress, NM Public Education Commission, NM Senate, and NM House of Representatives. The Legislature would vote for one of the sets of maps without amendment. The Commission will also be responsible for overseeing public hearings and public input for the redistricting process. Appointments to the Commission will be made one each by the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Pro Tem, and Senate Minority Leader. Three more will be appointed by the NM Ethics Commission, one of whom shall be a retired NM Supreme Court Justice who will act as chair.
    Click here for the bill language. Committee path: Senate Rules, Senate Judiciary, Senate Finance.
  23. SB 278/HB209 State Indian Child Welfare Act, sponsored by Sen. Benny Shendo and Rep. Georgene Louis, these identical bills would protect Native American children so they can remain within their tribal communities and extended families. They would codify the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into state law. The U.S. Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act into law in 1978, but it is too often not enforced, according to experts working on the state law. For bill language click here.
    SB 278 Committee Path: Sen Indian and Rural Affairs, then Judiciary, then Finance. Three hearings. Tough.
  24. SB 296 Increase penalties for oil and gas violations, sponsored by Sen. McKenna and Sen. Steinborn. Advanced by NM Environmental Law Center, this bill would increase penalties for oil operation violations. We think this is for spills and emissions, but we are researching what specifically is being violated, the history of current penalties, when they were last raised (1970s), and verifying that the increases would mirror other state penalties.
    For full bill language, click here.
    SB 296 Committee Path: Sen Conservation (passed) awaiting hearing in Judiciary.
    For a Fact Sheet on SB 296, click here.
  25. SB 412. Voting for Sixteen-Year-Olds. Sponsored by Sen. Carrie Hamblen. The bill would give the vote in any statewide or special election to sixteen-year-olds. The bill would also allow seventeen-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of a November election, to vote in state primary elections. The bill was amended in Senate Rules to only allow seventeen-year-olds to vote and with that amendment it passed Senate Rules with only one dissenting vote. If you read the committee substitute, your head will spin.
    For a the full bill language and actions taken on the bill, click here.
    Committee Bill Path: Passed Senate Rules, now parked in Senate Judiciary.

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