House Highlights for the week ending Jan. 31:
●House Bill 13 School Equalization Guarantee “Local Revenue,” sponsored by Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Bernalillo-19) received a Do Pass without recommendation. HB 13 proposes revisions to the definition of “local revenue” for calculating a school district’s state equalization guarantee distribution under NMSA 1978, Section 22-8-25. HB 13’s inclusion of new language clarifies the calculation by explicitly requiring any local taxes, whether authorized or not, to be incorporated into the SEG distribution. HB 13 now goes to the House taxation and revenue committee.
●House Bill 220 New Mexico Grown Produce in School Lunches, sponsored by Rep. Mary Helen Garcia (D-Doña Ana-34) received a Do Pass in House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee. House Bill 220 appropriates $100,000 from the general fund to New Mexico State University (NMSU) for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) to purchase locally grown New Mexico fresh fruits and vegetables and to administer a program to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for public school lunch programs in the Gadsden, Las Cruces and Deming school districts. HB 220 will be heard next in House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
●House Bill 141 Create Additional Judgeships, sponsored by Rep. Henry “Kiki” Saavedra (D-Bernalillo-10) received a Do Pass in House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 141 endorsed by the Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee, creates five additional judgeships as follows: one additional judgeship each in the First Judicial District, the Second Judicial District, the Fifth Judicial District, the Thirteenth Judicial District, and the Dona Ana magistrate district. HB141 heads to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
●House Memorial 3 Animal Poaching Penalties & Awareness, sponsored by Rep. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo-21) received a Do Pass in House Judiciary Committee. HM3 recognizing the negative impact of trophy poaching (illegally killing an animal for the most valuable part of its body) on legal hunters, the big game population, human enjoyment in the presence of animals and tourism. The memorial asks that Game and Fish be requested to take steps to deter trophy poaching, to increase public awareness of issues concerning trophy poaching, and be commended for proposing stiffer penalties for trophy poaching.
●House Bill 96 Tech Jobs and Research Development Tax Credit, sponsored by Rep. Carl Trujillo (D-Santa Fe-46) was tabled in House Taxation and Revenue Committee. House Bill 96 amends the name and purpose of the Technology Jobs Tax Credit Act to include “Research and Development” to be known as the “Technology Jobs and Research and Development Tax Credit Act.” It adds several definitions to the act, raises both the basic and additional credit amounts from four to five percent, and adds two new sections related to claiming the additional credit and required reporting by taxpayers who claim the credit.
●House Bill 39 Low Income Residential Energy Conversation, sponsored by Nate Cote (D-Doña Ana-53) was a Due Pass, on 10 to 0 vote. House Bill 39 makes an appropriation from the General Fund to the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA)Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) in the amount of $1,000,000 (million) for FY15 and FY16. The funds would be used to fund a residential energy conservation program, increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs for homes occupied by low-income residents. House 39 now heads House Appropriations and Finance Committee.