top of page
Search

March 15, 2023

Updated: Jan 26


SB 2 – Judicial Salary Increase


Mandates that justices of the state Supreme Court receive an annual salary equal to that received by New Mexico federal Magistrate judges. Removes formulas in statute setting magistrates’ salaries at a percentage of other judges’ salaries.


This bill passed the house 64 – 3. I voted no, I do not agree with de-coupling the magistrate judges without consent. This bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 136/a – PRC Commissioner Salaries


Sets Commissioner salary equal to that of a district court judge (approximately $190k plus benefits) pursuant to Sec. 34-1-9, which provides for the salaries of justices, judges and magistrates to be determined by the Judicial Compensation Commission.


This bill passed the house 59 – 7. I voted no. Two years ago PRC commissioners were elected. Under the current executive laws changed. The commission was reduced from five elected commissioners at $90k/year to three appointed commissioners. In addition, there is legislation (SB144) that appropriates $2.5M for the purchase of a building plus potential renovations up to $7.2M.


This bill passed the house 59 – 7. I voted no. This bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 7/cs – Rural Healthcare Delivery Fund


Creates the Rural Health Care Delivery Fund to be administered by the Human Services Department (HSD) to provide grants to defray operating costs of rural health care providers that provide new or expanded health care services; appropriates $200 million (GF, non-reverting) to the Fund for use in FY2024 and subsequent years.


This bill passed the house unanimously. This bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 160/a – Transfer Transportation Functions From PRC


A government reorganization bill that transfers authority for transportation regulation from the Public Regulation Commission to the Department of Transportation, including motor carrier regulation and enforcement, railroad safety enforcement and ambulance standards. Provides additional powers to DOT over common carriers. Statutorily creates the Pipeline Safety Bureau within the Public Regulation Commission and provides that the bureau serve as staff to the PRC for the regulation of pipelines and pipeline safety.


This bill passed the house unanimously. This bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk.



SJR 13 – Northeast Abq Land Sale





SJR 13 would sell undeveloped real property owned by the General Services Department to Bernalillo County, subject to the property being reverted back to the state if the county decides not to utilize it.


This bill passed the house 63 – 1. I voted yes.


SB 42/a – Campaign Finance Reporting Changes


This bill died on the house floor 33 – 36. I voted no, this bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk.



SB 132/cs – STI Prevention and Treatment


SB 132 would prohibit cost-sharing (no co-pay) for preventive care and treatment of sexually transmitted infection (STI) which is estimated to result in an increase in utilization of preventative care and treatment.


In other words, the cost insurance companies would pay will now be charged to the private insurance rate payers. A key issue for me, under this bill, a doctor, clinic, or hospital would be required to treat a juvenile without consent or knowledge of the parents.


This bill passed the house 42 - 23. I voted no, this bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 176/a – Acequia Fund for Disaster Response


Amends the Acequia and Community Ditch Infrastructure Fund to provide for funding for disaster response, recovery and hazard mitigation, and infrastructure projects and to match or meet cost share requirements of other state and federal funding programs. Increases the annual transfer from the Irrigation Works Construction Fund to the Acequia and Community Ditch Infrastructure Fund from $2.5 million to $5 million.


703 Acequias depend on this fund, with no sunset clause, it will go broke.


This bill passed the house 64 – 3. I voted no. This bill is on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 397/a – School Based Health Centers


Creates and codifies a new section of the Public Health Act to add School Based Health Centers. To specify that school-based health centers receiving funding from the Department of Health shall be regulated by the department. In other words, it requires the department to promulgate rules for regulation, operation, and oversight.


Our schools in Lea County have had School Based Health Centers operating successfully without codified laws dictating how they are run. Once chaptered, local school board and administration decisions will be limited by the rules. This opens the door for juvenile gender affirming care and abortion without parental consent.


This bill passed the house 40 – 25. I voted no. This bill is headed to the governor’s desk.



SB 187 – Certain Drug Possession and Habitual Offender


This bill removes the habitual offender enhancement for a person convince of “simple possession” of a controlled substance like fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, etc.


This bill passed the house 39 - 23. I voted no. This bill is headed to the governor’s desk.


SB 29 – Medical and Geriatric Parole


SB 29 allows New Mexico Corrections Department to release inmates 55 or older if they have a terminal disease or a debilitating chronic age-related illness by creating a rebuttable presumption that the person is eligible for release, unless they have been convicted of first degree murder.


This bill repeals the existing statute governing the State’s system of medical and geriatric parole. This bill replaces the Parole Board’s responsibility to determine whether an inmate is eligible for the medical and geriatric program and transfers the procedure to the Department of Corrections.


This bill passed the house. I voted no. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.


HB 390/a – Racehorse Testing Fund, Fines, & Audits


Amends the Horse Racing Act to (a) shift proceeds from civil penalty and testing fines for violations of the act from the School Fund to the Racehorse Testing Fund; (b) require that the Racehorse Testing fund be thoroughly examined and audited by an independent auditor approved by the State Auditor; and (c) specify that the State Racing Commission is authorized to impose a maximum $100,000 fine for each positive test result under Sec. 60-1A-14 (drug testing) in addition to the authority it has to impose a $100,000 civil penalty fine for a violation of other sections of the act.


This bill passed the house 69 – 1. I voted yes.


SB 31/a – Guardianship Changes


Amends the Children’s Code to provide for voluntary placement of a child with consent of the parent or guardian. Changes the name of the Family Services Act to the Voluntary Placement and Family Services Act and amends it to consolidate provisions for voluntary placement of a child by the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and for financial subsidies to caregivers. Gives CYFD rulemaking authority to implement the act. Amends the Kinship Guardianship Act, the Indian Family Protection Act, the Abuse and Neglect Act and makes conforming changes to each and other related laws.


This bill passed the house unanimously. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 111/aa – Temporary Suspension of Licensing Fees


Suspends provisional and initial license fees for persons entering certain professions and occupations in New Mexico from July 1, 2023 to July 1, 2026; appropriates $1 million (General Fund) to the Regulation and Licensing Department for use in FYs 2024 through 2027 to offset lost revenue from licensing fees.


This bill passed the house unanimously. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 242 – Medical Cannabis ID and Renewal


Amends the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act to change the period of validity for a medical cannabis patient registry identification card and to change the application period for renewal.


This bill passed the house unanimously. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 215/a – Establish Crime of Bestiality


Creates a new crime of “bestiality” and “aggravated bestiality” in Sec. 30-9A-3 within the Criminal Code, called the Animal Sexual Abuse Act and provides penalties.


This bill passed the house unanimously. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 248/aaa – Probate Court Changes


Makes extensive administrative changes to the structure, administration, operation, and jurisdiction of county probate courts, and clarifies funding obligations of a county. Provides that county clerks shall be clerks of probate courts unless the county commissioners designate a separate probate clerk and provides for their duties; provides for substitution of a recused or disqualified judge; specifies a county’s financial obligation to support the probate court; addresses record retention and transfer of certain cases to district court; provides for filing fees; and aligns the terms of probate judges statewide.


This bill passed the house unanimously. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 471/ec – Refusal of End-of-Life Options Act


Amends the End-of-Life Options Act to clarify that refusing, for reasons of conscience, to participate in medical aid in dying does not subject a person to criminal liability, licensing sanctions, or other professional disciplinary action, nor shall it be the basis for a report of unprofessional conduct. This includes refusing to provide information on medical aid in dying to a patient and refusing to refer a patient for assistance in obtaining medical aid in dying.


This bill passed the house unanimously. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.


SB 292/cs – Carlsbad/Eddy County Gross Receipts


Provides a distribution to the City of Carlsbad of $2 million of the net receipts attributable to the gross receipts tax to offset municipal GRT revenue sourced to Eddy County. Appropriates $25 million (GF, non-reverting) to the Local Government Division of DFA for distribution to the city of Carlsbad for use in FY2023 and subsequent years.


This bill offset taxes lost due to the destination tax passed as a constitutional amendment in November 2020.


This bill passed the house unanimously. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.


CONCURRENCE CALENDAR


HB 2/a – General Appropriation Act


HB 2, otherwise known as the budget bill was amended by the senate. Here is a short summary:


The Senate added a total of about $137.0 million to the recurring spending totals in HB 2. As passed by the House. This additional spending drives the annual increase in recurring spending to nearly 14 percent above the FY 2023. The House-passed version of HB 2 was 12.3 percent increase in recurring spending. The FY 2024 recurring state budget is now $9.57 billion, the largest in state history. The House-passed recurring state budget for FY 2024 in the House-passed bill was $9.43 billion. The FY 2023 recurring state budget was only $8.40 billion.

The Senate also added $295 million in nonrecurring spending items to the House-passed version of HB 2.


However, to achieve these 30+ percent level of reserves, the Senate-passed HB 2 reduced the amount going to the Severance Tax Permanent from $850 million in the HB 2 as passed by the House to $475 million. In addition, the above state reserve calculation includes $312.1 million in cash balance in FY 2023 and $388.8 million cash balance in FY 2024 contained in the Tobacco Settlement Fund. During consideration of the House-passed HB 2, the state reserve calculation excluded the Tobacco Settlement Fund’s cash balances and state reserves were still 30 percent range in both FY 2023 and FY 2024.


If the Tobacco Settlement Fund’s cash balances are excluded post-Senate passage of HB 2, the FY 2023 reserve would be only 24.7 percent and the FY 2024 reserve would be (generously) 26.7 percent.


The vast majority of the recurring spending increases over the HB 2 as passed by the House came at the request of the Governor.

Those increases over the House-passed levels were:

  1. $22.6 million for food initiatives including universal meals in schools, etc.

  2. $101 million for the Opportunity Scholarship (total new funding for these scholarships is $145.9 million including nonrecurring appropriations)

  3. $2 million for female hygiene products in schools

  4. $5 million to the Aging and Long-Term Services Department for their new Medicare program for seniors

  5. $2 million for the Tourism Department for national marketing and advertising

  6. $1 million to the Human Services Department to address added administrative cost in the income support programs.

  7. $1.5 million for school-based health centers through the Dept. of Health


I will do a more detailed write up on this after session.


This bill passed the house on a concurrence voice vote. I voted nay.



4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

February 9th, 2024

HB98: Accounts for Disabled Eligibility (02/09/2024, Y:63, N:0, Yes) Current law allows tax-free savings accounts under Internal Revenue Code Section 529A to be set up for eligible persons. This expan

February 4th, 2024

As of Sunday February 4, 2024 these are the bills that have been debated and voted in the NM House of Representatives to date. Within the title of each bill, I provide the date of the vote, the vote c

March 16, 2023

Concurrence Calendar HB 547 – Tax Changes This bill was not concurred with. From here it will go to a conference committee in effort to come to agreement. Third Reading Calendar SB 20/a – Educational

bottom of page