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Historic investments in education and infrastructure

Santa Fe, NM – Today at noon the 54th Legislative Session of the New Mexico Legislature came to a close. House Democrats passed legislation aimed at addressing poverty, public safety, and making historic investments in public education and energy transition.

“We have a mandate to lift an entire generation of New Mexico’s children from a lifetime of poverty. This historic investment into public education is a major step forward for our children and the education moonshot they deserve,” said House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque). “We can no longer afford to wait to make these investments, we must invest in our children now. House Bill 5 ensures that we are appropriately funding public education and also ensures accountability of how our tax payer dollars are spent within our Public Education System.”

“The Energy Transition Act launches New Mexico to the forefront of clean energy in the United States with new renewable energy, making our state completely carbon-free by 2045. My office has spent 14 months working with groups across the state to make sure we are doing this right,” said Speaker Brian Egolf. “While we transition to a new era of clean energy, we are also helping a community transition out of coal – which is the reason I’m so proud of all who worked tirelessly to make this happen.”


The House Majority’s top priority this session was to fully fund public education and give New Mexico’s children the moonshot they deserve. House Democrats also focused on investments in New Mexico’s future in renewable energy as we begin transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy.

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BACKGROUND

Economy & Workers

House Bill 581 HEMP MANUFACTURING ACT, Rep. Derrick Lente
House Bill 581 will help farmers and manufacturers access the lucrative hemp industry while maintaining compliance with federal and state laws, and developing new, innovative products like CBD oils, textiles, and clothing.

Senate Bill 489 ENERGY TRANSITION ACT, Rep. Nathan Small, Speaker Brian Egolf, Sen. Jacob Candelaria, Sen. Mimi Stewart
Senate Bill 489 is an historic and transformative measure to reduce electricity costs, diversify the economy, invest in local communities, and protect the environment. Specifically, the Energy Transition Act calls for 50% renewable energy by 2030, 80% by 2040, and 100% zero-carbon resources by 2045; a large renewable energy build-out to create an estimated 8,000 new jobs by 2050; and financing to transition away from coal and to protect consumers.

Senate Bill 437 RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE, House Floor Sponsor Rep. Miguel Garcia, Sen. Clemente Sanchez
Senate Bill 437 will raise the New Mexico minimum wage for workers across the state from 7.50 to $9 at the beginning of 2020, to $10.50 in 2021, $11.50 in 2022, and to $12 in 2023.

Education

House Bill 5 EDUCATION MOONSHOT, Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, Rep. G. Andres Romero, Rep. Christine Trujillo, Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, Rep. Roberto Gonzales
House Bill 5 and Senate Bill 1 are mirror bills that both amend the Public School Code to make changes to the public school funding formula. The bill also creates a public education reform fund to address issues in response to the recent court decision in the consolidated Yazzie v. State of New Mexico and Martinez v. State of New Mexico cases. House Bill 5 was amended on the floor to lengthen the rural and small school size adjustment phase outs and addresses the age cap. The general fund appropriation for funding public education is $3.25 billion, an increase of $449 million or 16% over FY 19. House Bill 5 now heads to the Governor for further consideration.

House Bill 7 HIGHER EDUCATION CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE, Rep. Micaela Cadena, Rep. Tomas Salazar
House Bill 7 would establish the following Centers of Excellence: Sustainable Agricultural Industries at New Mexico State University; Cybersecurity Industries at New Mexico Tech; Bioscience Industries at the UNM Health Sciences Center; and Renewable Energy Industries at San Juan College. Centers of excellence are designed to bring together a critical mass of experts that will proactively and strategically improve research opportunities and workforce development across New Mexico. HB7 requires centers of excellence to actively seek public and private funding, establish short and long term goals for job creation, business creation, and private equity investment outcomes, and report annually to the New Mexico Higher Education Department. This is a high priority bill for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

House Bill 127 COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY ACT CHANGES, Rep. G. Andres Romero
House Bill 127 amends the College Affordability Act to increase the maximum amount of need based scholarships to each eligible student from $1,000 per semester in an academic year to $1,500 per semester in an academic year. The bill also increases the annual distribution from the endowment fund to the scholarship fund from $2 million per year to $3 million per year.

Energy and Environment
House Bill 37 NO LEDA FUNDS FOR WATER RIGHTS PURCHASES, Rep. Miguel Garcia
House Bill 37 amends the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) to exclude the purchase or lease of water rights as a qualified use of LEDA appropriated funds. Currently, under LEDA, the Economic Development Department (EDD) is granted authority to administer grants to local governments (municipality or county) and to assist expanding or relocating businesses that will stimulate economic development and produce public benefits. Additional consideration is given to project that demonstrate significant community impact and support, alternate to rural and underserved areas of New Mexico, and increase in wages and job creation, significant new capital investment, and environmentally sustainable outcomes.

House Bill 204 HEALTHY SOIL ACT, Rep. Nathan Small, Rep. Melanie Stansbury, Sen. Liz Stefanics
House Bill 204 creates the Health Soil Program and Healthy Soil Grant Program under the Department of Agriculture (NMDA) to support and promote farming and ranching systems and other forms of land management that increase soil organic matter, aggregate stability, microbiology, and water retention to improve the health, yield, and profitability of the soils in NM.

House Bill 291 EFFICIENT USE OF ENERGY ACT CHANGES, Rep. Andrea Romero
House Bill 291 improves the Efficient Use of Energy Act (EUEA) to save money for households and businesses, benefit the economy, and promote energy efficiency. House Bill 291 provides for updated goals and cost recovery percentages, adopts rate adjustment mechanisms to remove disincentives, and makes other positive changes to the EUEA. This legislation codifies what energy companies and consumers well know: the cheapest and cleanest energy available is that which is unused.


Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform
House Bill 342 CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS, Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, Rep. Gail Chasey, Sen. Sander Rue, Sen. Richard Martinez
House Bill 342 is a comprehensive reform bill that focuses on accountability and treatment to prevent crime and successfully reintegrate criminal actors back into society. The bill creates a behavioral health framework to assist incarcerated juveniles and adults with the transition back into the community; and extends the Good Samaritan law to those who report overdoses.

Senate Bill 8 FIREARM SALE BACKGROUND CHECK, House Floor Sponsor Rep. Debbie Sarinana, Sen. Richard Martinez, Sen. Peter Wirth
Senate Bill 8 creates a new section of Chapter 30, Article 7 NMSA 1978 making it unlawful to sell a firearm without a background check. Senate Bill 8 prohibits the sale of a firearm without conducting a federal instant background check if the sale is made for a fee or other consideration. The bill excludes the sale of a firearm by a person who holds a valid federal firearms license; to a law enforcement agency; or between two law enforcement officers authorized to carry a firearm.

House Bill 278 MISSING & MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN, Rep. Andrea Romero, Rep. Derrick Lente, Rep. D. Wonda Johnson, Rep. Melanie Stansbury
House Bill 278 seeks to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. House Bill 278 declares an emergency and creates a task force to outline preventative measures and document these cases. According to the Urban Indian and Health Institute, New Mexico has the highest number of missing and murdered indigenous women. This legislation will seek methods for data and information sharing with stakeholders, local law enforcement, and federal agencies to prevent indigenous women from going missing or being murdered.

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