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March 14, 2023

Updated: Jan 26

HB 388/cs – Cybersecurity Fund

Creates the Cybersecurity Fund as a non-reverting fund to be initially administered by the Department of Information Technology. Appropriates $35M (General Fund, non-reverting) to the Fund for use in FYs 2024 and beyond. Should SB 280 become law, the Fund will then be administered by the new Cybersecurity Office.

This bill passed the house 52 – 15. I voted no.

HB 334 – Removal of Traffic Obstructing Vehicles

Allows a law enforcement officer or transportation employee to move a motor vehicle if it is obstructing traffic.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

SB 21/aaa/ec – Prohibit Prescribed Burning During Red Flags

Prohibits a person or a federal, state, local, or tribal governmental entity from conducting a prescribed burn between March 1 and May 31 of any year.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

SB 83 – Telecomm Act “Cramming” Definition

Expands the definition of the prohibited act of “cramming,” in the Cramming and Slamming Act, to limit the prohibition against charging a customer for goods or services that are not telecommunications services to those that “were not authorized by the customer.” Under current law the prohibition against cramming for non-telecommunications services is outright. This bill would limit the prohibition to those charges not authorized by the customer.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

SB 94/aa – Transfer Rio Grande Trail Administration

Transfers administration of the Rio Grande Trail Commission (Commission) and the Rio Grande Trail Fund (Fund) from the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to the Economic Development Department. Provides duties to the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division (NMORD, a Division of EDD) to complete the Rio Grande Trail.

This bill is unfunded, in the FIR, NMORD states they would need additional people to oversee.

This bill passed the house 64 – 4. I voted no.

SB 168/aa – Death Pronouncements by Nurses

Authorizes a registered nurse contracted by a hospice agency to pronounce the death of a resident of a nursing home, unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the death is not due to natural causes.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

SB 351 – Legislative Council Members in Interim Committees

Allows a member of the New Mexico Legislative Council to serve as a voting member on an interim committee that is created or appointed by the New Mexico Legislative Council. Under the current Powers and Duties section of the Legislative Council no member of the council is allowed to serve as an officer or voting member on an interim committee that is appointed or created by the council. The prohibition against serving as an officer on such a committee is left intact.

This bill passed the house 47 – 22. I voted no.

SB 271/a – Equine Definition

Establishes provisions for notice and disposition concerning an equine estray, an equine running at large, and a cruelly treated equine. Requires the Livestock Board to adopt rules for a process to issue a temporary capacity waiver to a facility for the purpose of transferring equines in Board custody to a facility. Renames the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund as the Equine Shelter Rescue Fund. Defines “equine” (a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or hinny) as a substitute for “horse” in the Livestock Code.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

SB 35 – Anesthesiologist Assistants Changes

Amends the Anesthesiologist Assistant Act to mandate that anesthesiologist assistants be personally supervised by a licensed anesthesiologist; removes current limits on the number of assistants an anesthesiologist may supervise; deletes existing limitation to practice only in a Class A county (that is, Bernalillo); clarifies employment conditions in locations other than UNM Medical School; and removes the delayed repealer of Sec 61-6D-10 which governs anesthesiologist assistant employment conditions.

This bill passed the house 61 – 1. I voted yes.

SB 58 – Interstate Stream Commission Members

Changes membership of the Interstate Stream Commission; members serving as of July 1, 2023 would continue until a replacement is appointed and are eligible for reappointment. Provides for an eight-member ISC with staggered terms of four years plus the state engineer who shall serve as secretary; failure of an appointed member to attend three consecutive meetings is cause for removal. The ISC elects a chair and vice chair. All actions are by majority vote. Unfortunately, the board changes do not include the one college in New Mexico that focuses degrees on Agriculture, Ranch and Water Management.

This bill passed the house 63 – 6. I voted no.

SB 72/a – Create Wildlife Corridors Fund

Creates the Wildlife Corridors Fund administered by the Department of Transportation to provide safe road crossings for wildlife; appropriates $50 million (GF, non-reverting) to the Fund for use in FY2024 and subsequent years.

While this is something that New Mexico needs to add into our highway design criteria it is important to note that each one of these crossings would come at a cost that would reduce our ability to build three to five miles of roadway. With over $6B in road projects on our list, this is simply something that we cannot afford to focus on.

This bill passed the house 49 – 20. I voted no.

SB 92/cs – Pharmacist Scope of Practice

Amends the Pharmacy Act to expand the scope of practice of pharmacy to include (1) administering devices or supplies for prescribed drug therapy for certain conditions, and (2) ordering, performing and interpreting USFDA-authorized tests waived under the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988.

This bill passed the house 62 – 5. I voted yes.

SB 474/a/ec – School District In-Lieu-Of-Taxes Payments

Currently, municipalities and counties are not allowed to acquire electrical generation or transmission projects unless the school districts within the acquiring jurisdiction receive annual in-lieu tax payments. Bill lays out how the in-lieu payments are to be calculated.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

HB 522 – Prohibit Certain Lobbying Activities

HB 522 prohibits a lobbyist from coercing or threatening a legislator, legislative committee, public officer, or government employee to vote or take other action that benefits the lobbyist or lobbyist’s employer. Also prohibits a lobbyist from offering money, sexual favor, or other thing of value for an outcome favorable to the lobbyist or the lobbyist’s employer.

This bill passed the house 68 – 1. I voted yes.

SB 102/a – Improper Use Of Travel Lane

Adds a new Sec. 66-7-376 to the Motor Vehicle Code to regulate vehicle travel on two- and three-lane roadways. Violations constitute a penalty assessment misdemeanor of $50 for improper use of travel lane. The penalty assessment misdemeanor does not include a violation that has caused or contributed to the cause of an accident resulting in injury or death to a person. After a careful reading of this bill, NMLR wonders about its validity as a serious measure genuinely intended for inclusion in the New Mexico Statutes.

This bill passed the house 60 – 9. I voted no.

SB 180/a – Election Changes

This legislation, touted as “Election Code Clean-up bill”, is similar to the version of the Senate Finance Committee Substitute for SB 6 that passed the Senate floor unanimously last year. Unfortunately, it still does not contain the key provisions added by Republicans added to it last year.

It omits provisions regarding voter identification for same day voter registrants, voter file cleanup, makes candidate home address confidential, requires Secretary of State to be served in election related litigation, increases pay for poll workers, allows for ballot harvesting, among many other bad changes.

Two-Thirds of New Mexico’s County Clerks oppose this legislation.

This bill passed the house 44 – 25. I voted no.

SB 206 – Forestry Division Procurement Exemption

Provides an exemption from the Procurement Code to allow the Forestry Division of EMNRD to distribute federal grants to NGOs and individuals selected by the USDA, the U.S. Department of Interior, or any division or bureau handling wildfire prevention, urban forestry, forest and watershed restoration, reforestation, or economic development projects to advance the use of trees and wood biomass resources.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

SB 224 – Medicaid As Mandatory Medical Child Support

Amends the Mandatory Medical Support Act to allow parents to satisfy their medical support obligation to their children by enrolling them in Medicaid.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

SB 335/ec – Delay Part of Local Election Act

Delays implementation of the applicability of the Local Election Act for conservancy district elections until the regular local election of 2025. Provides an interim method to conduct conservancy district elections in 2023 and requires the Secretary of State to work with the districts to identify barriers and provide recommendations to ensure each district’s participation in the regular local election of 2023. Applies to any district organized under The Conservancy Act of New Mexico.

This bill passed the house unanimously.

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