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March 7, 2023

Updated: Jan 26


HB 130 – K – 12 Plus Program


Amends the Public-School Code to change required instructional hours in school calendars at all grade levels, and to allow use of 60 instructional hours for staff professional work when students are not present. Amends the Public-School Finance Act to create the K-12 Plus Program to provide additional program units in the State Equalization Guarantee for public schools that choose to increase instructional days beyond the required minimums. Repeals the K-5 Plus Act and extended learning time program units in current law.

This bill passed the house unanimously.


HB 357 – Law Enforcement Workforce Building Fund


House Judiciary Committee Substitute for House Bill 357 retains the intent of the original to increase the available workforce and provide initiatives to recruit and retain high-quality officials for law enforcement (local and state police) and public attorneys (public defenders and prosecutors). The substitute adds corrections workforce to the initiative; creates three separate workforce capacity building fund committees, one for each group, and administratively attaches all three committees to the Department of Finance and Administration, giving DFA authority to administer and disburse money from the various funds.


This bill passed the house unanimously.


HB 262 – Transfer Connect NM Grant Program


Transfers authority to disburse the Connect New Mexico Fund to the Broadband Office of the Department of Information Technology; makes technical corrections and minor language changes to the Connect New Mexico Act that don’t seem to alter its intent or function.


This bill passed the house 63 – 3. I voted no. To date, since I have been in office, New Mexico has invested more than $100M to broadband. That said, the Director of Broadband who reports directly to the governor, continues to ignore the infrastructure in place by our rural co-ops like LEACO. Until the state allows our co-ops a seat at the table, I will fight the governor’s office and director.


HB 389 – No ID Card Fee for Homeless Individuals


Waives the $15 fee for either a 4-year identification card and the $10 fee for an 8-year identification card issued to a homeless individual by the MVD's Taxation and Revenue Department. Extensively defines the term “homeless individual.”


This bill passed the house unanimously.


HB 400 – State-Administered Health Coverage Plan


Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create a state-administered health coverage plan (the Medicaid Forward Plan) to provide health insurance coverage for lower-income persons who are not otherwise covered under the New Mexico Medicaid State Plan. Calls for a study of the plan and appropriates $500,000 (GF) to HHS for use in FYs 2024-2-25 for staff and assistance to conduct the study.


Once amended on the floor, the requirement to create a state-administered health coverage plan or Medicaid Forward Plan was removed. Now the bill only includes the study.


It is important to realize that the study this bill mandates is really a study to justify the creation of the new “Medical Forward Plan”, rather than conduct a serious study to determine whether this massive expansion of Medicaid makes good fiscal and health care policy.


The assumption of eventual implementation of the Medicaid Forward Plan is based upon a lack of any information on what the fiscal impact on the state budget, and how it would be implemented. This legislation may possibly be the most fiscally irresponsible legislative initiative being considered during this 60-day session.


This bill passed the house 58 – 10. I voted no.


HB 364 – Alcohol Delivery, Licenses and Ad Money


Extends to all delivery permit applicants the conditions applied currently only to certain licensees in Class A counties, allows spirituous liquors to be delivered and bars license holder from accepting advertising money to preferentially list a product in the holder’s ordering system.


This bill passed the house 58 – 10. I voted yes.


HB 459 – Horse Breeder Fee Distributions


Increases the funds paid to the owners of the stallions that sired the first-place winners from 7% to 12% of the distributed money from the Horse Breeders’ Association Fund under the Horse Racing Act.


This bill passed the house unanimously.


HB 309 – Nonprofit Gaming Machine Max Award


Directs licensees of non-profit gaming operators under the Gaming Control Act to increase the maximum payout on a gaming machine on its premises from $4,000 to a new $10,000 threshold.


This bill passed the house 63 – 3. I voted yes.


HB 375 – Charter School Expenditure Plan


Seeks to amend Charter School Financing. The amount of financing allocated to charter schools shall be no less than 98% of the school generated program cost. The division may withhold and use up to 2% for administrative support of the charter school and its monitoring and oversight obligations as specified.


This bill passed the house unanimously.


HB 297 – Corrections Advisory Board Act


Cited as the Corrections Advisory Board Act, an 11-member Corrections Advisory Board is created within the Department of Finance and Administration. The board evaluates and reviews operations of the Corrections Department (CD) and identifies systemic issues within the department that lead to inmate harm or negative impacts on personnel; and hires a Corrections Ombudsperson to investigate complaints. Provides powers and duties. Requires confidential access to the Ombudsperson by inmates and personnel. Amends the State Rules Act to provide opportunity to comment on rule changes to persons under CD supervision.


The details of how the board is created is unnerving. The board would include 3 formerly incarcerated persons and only one person impacted by crime. In addition, 7 members with various expertise with corrections. It confuses me why would create a board of people from the industry when, according to the bill sponsor, the industry is failing.


Finally, this board and responsibilities would interfere with collective bargaining agreements, disregard the discovery process for litigation and create a separation in services and agency functions.


This bill passed the house 46 – 22. I voted no.


HB 376 – NM Insurance Pool Board of Directors


Amends the Insurance Code to expand the authority of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool and to revise methodology for calculating rates.


This legislation, if chaptered, will lead to increases in the average market rate at the Exchange.


This bill passed the house 37 – 29. I voted no.

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