NM Legislative session 2019

Santa Fe – Today, a bill to protect jobs in the Four Corners area of the state passed the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. House Bill 498, sponsored by Rep. Anthony Allison (D-Fruitland), would require that if the San Juan Generating Station closes down, then any replacement power produced by the utility must come from the Four Corners area.

“I worked in the coal mines, and I spent my entire career in the coal industry,” said Rep. Anthony Allison. “The mines and power plants have been the economic lifeblood of my community. Energy transition is a fact, and national and global economic forces are driving it. It’s simply not realistic to think the coal plants and coal mines will be around forever, so we are fighting to ensure that workers aren’t left behind as we go through this energy transition.”

House Bill 5 passes House on a bipartisan vote

Santa Fe, NM – Today, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 5, sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque), House Education Committee Chairman Rep. G. Andres Romero (D-Albuquerque), House Appropriations and Finance Committee Chairwoman Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup), Rep. Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque), and House Appropriations and Finance Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Roberto Gonzales (D-Ranchos de Taos).  

House Bill 5 amends 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.

Santa Fe – In their rush to attack the 2nd Amendment rights of New Mexicans House Democrats failed to fully read Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) before forcing a vote last Monday night. According to media reports, Democrats were unaware of the error and presented the wrong bill in both the House Judiciary Committee and to the entire House of Representatives. The error was not discovered in the bill until after it was passed out of the House.

Rep. D. Wonda Johnson champions bills that will positively impact tribal and frontier areas.

Santa Fe – The House of Representatives has passed a trio of bills sponsored by Rep. D. Wonda Johnson (D-Church Rock) that will positively impact rural and frontier areas of New Mexico. House Bill 234, Public Service Officers and Detox Facilities; House Bill 235, Counseling and Therapy Act Definitions; and House Bill 385, Access to Telecomm Rural Service Fund are all headed to the Senate for further consideration.

House Bill 234 amends the Detoxification Reform Act (Section 43-2-2 NMSA 1978) to add “public service officers” to the list of authorized persons who can request the commitment of an alcohol- or drug-impaired person to a detoxification facility. The current list only includes physicians and police officers. A “public service officer” is defined as a civilian employee within a police department who is authorized by the police department to transport intoxicated or incapacitated persons to a treatment facility or detention center.

Santa Fe – Yesterday, a bill to collect and share data across agencies so children in New Mexico are better served passed the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. House Bill 173, sponsored by Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque) would establish a Child and Family Databank Commission to mandate data sharing across agencies and develop a governance process to share and access administrative data for research and program evaluation.

“In the creation of this bill, we met with critical stakeholders who gave us recommendations for how our state can better serve New Mexico’s children,”said Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas. “What we found is that we need to better connect our data across important agencies so we can make sound financial decisions to better serve our communities. This sharing of data will provide us with better information about the needs of New Mexico’s children to ensure we improve their lives.”

Reps. Nathan Small & Melanie Stansbury’s Healthy Soil Program Advances

Santa Fe – Yesterday, Reps. Nathan Small and Melanie Stansbury’s bill to create a healthy soil program for New Mexico passed the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. House Bill 204, as amended, would utilize the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to research, offer grants, and work with ranchers and farmers across the state to safeguard and enhance soil health, increase soil productivity, and create a stronger New Mexico.

Technical service providers including tribes, soil and water conservation districts, and the cooperative extension service will work with ranchers and farmers to bring the best research and leverage resources to improve and safeguard soil health. Helping younger ranchers and farmers, veterans, and those in economically hard hit areas can be prioritized under the legislation.

Santa Fe – Yesterday, a bill to provide mental health training for education staff working with school children in the Gadsden Independent School District passed the House Education Committee. House Bill 615, sponsored by Rep. Raymundo “Ray” Lara (D-Chamberino) and Rep. Willie Madrid (D-Chaparral), is a pilot program that would require mental health awareness training for school personnel.

“This important pilot project is intended to be a model for what could turn into a statewide program,” said Rep. Raymundo “Ray” Lara. “If support staff, teachers, and parents are trained in mental health awareness, then we can better understand students’ needs and positively impact the lives of New Mexico’s children, especially those with Adverse Childhood Experiences.”

Senate Bill 8 has now passed both legislative chambers and heads to Governor’s desk for signing

Santa Fe – Today, Senate Bill 8, sponsored by Sen. Richard Martinez and Sen. Peter Wirth passed the House of Representatives. The “Firearm Sale Background Check Act” would create a new section of the Criminal Code making it unlawful to sell a firearm for a fee or other consideration without first conducting a federal instant background check.

“We need to do what we can to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories and those who are prohibited from buying them. We can do this by requiring background checks for all gun sales,” said House Floor Sponsor Rep. Debbie Sariñana (D-Albuquerque). “I have been personally impacted by gun violence, and have seen the way gun violence affects our children and our communities. At the end of the day, this is only the first step in the long road to preventing gun violence, but if this saves the life of even one New Mexican child – then we are on the right path.”