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February 24, 2023

Updated: Jan 26

HB 184 – State Game Commission Changes

House Bill 184 (HB184) would change the way state game commissioners are appointed by giving the Legislative Council authority to appoint four of the seven members. Currently, all seven members are appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate, with five members representing regions of the state and two serving at large.

The members would serve staggered six-year terms, compared with the current four-year terms, House Bill 184 – Page 2 and would be limited to two terms. A commissioner could not be removed except for incompetence or malfeasance and only by the Supreme Court. The effective date of this bill is January 1, 2024.

I should note, hunting and fishing conservation groups have criticized the current make up for failing to adequately represent conservation interests. In other words, environmentalists are pushing for the commission to be more “Green”. This is another back door bill.

The vote passed the house on a 45 – 21 Vote. I voted no.

HB 270 – Emergency Suspension of Trucking Laws

Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to issue orders suspending or modifying the requirements for vehicle size, weight, and load for the duration of a national emergency declared under federal law or an emergency declared by the governor under the Emergency Powers Code. Requires those suspending or modifying orders to be posted on the Department of Transportation’s website.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

HB 274/a American Asian Pacific Islander & Hawaiian Day

Designates the first Tuesday of a February in odd-numbered years “Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian Day.”

Passed the house unanimously.

HB 197 – Increase Free Fishing Days

Increases the amount of “free fishing” time – days when people are permitted to fish without state fishing licenses – from two non-consecutive Saturdays to two non-consecutive two-day weekends each year.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

HB 229 – Insurance Adjuster Bond Exclusion

Amends the Insurance Code to no longer allow cash bonds from insurance adjusters to be accepted in lieu of a surety bond. Changes the term “adjuster” to a “public adjuster” for purposes of establishing surety bond requirements for adjusters in New Mexico.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

HB 151 – Non-Tenure Track Faculty Unemployment

The bill amends statute with regard to benefit eligibility conditions for non-tenure track faculty at higher education institutions in Northern New Mexico. The focus of this bill is for adjunct faculty (or part time).

If this bill is chaptered, a person could teach for 26 weeks, not receive a job offer in excess of 90% of their base pay for the next semester, and receive full unemployment for 32 weeks.

Unfortunately, this bill passed the house 40 - 25. I voted no.

HJR 8/a/a – Legislative Salaries, CA

Another “Let’s Grow Government Bill”!

HB 8 creates a “Creative Industries Division” within the Economic Development Department. “Creative Industry” means a business, organization or person engaged in creative enterprises, including performing, visual and literary arts; entertainment, media, information and broadcasting; applied arts and design, including architecture, landscape architecture, museum and gallery professions; promotion, marketing, graphics and industrial design; technology and computer system design, software design, coding and digital media; and crafts and artisan professions, including metal, wood, glass, ceramics, paper, printing, textile and culinary arts.

Grants would be available for “for-profit” and “non-profit" organizations. This is a clear violation of the “anti-donation” act.

During debate, more than 90% of the “shovel ready” products for the funding exist north of I-40.

Interesting, New Mexico already has departments that receive funding and deal with each of the items defined under “creative industries”, in addition, the New Mexico Tourism Department wrote in their analysis that creating this new department would duplicate efforts.

This bill passed the house 56 – 10. I voted no.

HB 177 – Drug Product Selection Act Changes

This legislation gives pharmacists latitude in substituting medications for patients. Upon receipt of a prescription written by a licensed practitioner, pharmacists would be allowed to substitute another drug of the same therapeutic class.

The patient would have to opt into the drug product substitution, and the pharmacist is to clearly inform the patient of the differences in the drug products and specify that the patient may refuse the substitution. The pharmacist is to modify the amount and directions for use to allow for an equivalent amount of drug to be dispensed as prescribed. Additionally, the pharmacist would be required to notify the prescriber. The prescriber may prohibit substitution by specifying no substitution or “no sub” on the prescription.

This sounds like a great bill. Unfortunately, during debate, we learned that checking the “no sub” is the only stop gap in the process and if the prescriber failed to “check the box” they would be responsible if the substitute medication lead to therapeutic failures or adverse reactions.

Another key learning from the debate. The bill sponsor indicated that the next step in this process would be that pharmacists have our medical history.

After 2 hours of debate, the bill sponsor realized she was losing the debate and rolled the bill.

HB 165/a – Uniform Unclaimed Property Act

This bill would amend the current Uniform Unclaimed Property Act by making changes regarding securing private information and loyalty reward programs that may be convertible to monetary value, among many other things.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

HB 172 – Abatement of Assault and Battery

This bill seeks to remove “assault and battery” as an exception for abatement (reduction) of a tort action (civil action for damages).

This means that a lawsuit can continue in an assault and battery tort claim against the state of a defendant who has died.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

HB 159 – Video Testimony for Traffic Offenses

This bill adds a new section to the Implied Consent Act that would allow analysts to provide testimony by interactive video. It includes language for laboratory analysts to testify at a court proceeding about chemical testing.

This is a good bill that reduces the cost of court proceedings. Clearly the trial lawyers dislike this bill. A majority of charges are dropped when analysts or police officers can not appear.

This bill passed the house 55 – 10. The majority of the no votes were attorneys.

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