New Mexico House Highlights:
On the Floor in the House
House Bill 550 (“Raise Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees”), sponsored by Rep. Phillip Archuleta (D-Doña Ana-36), passed the House by a vote of 34-31. It increases the minimum wage for tipped employees (like waiters and waitresses) from $2.13 to $3.25 to ensure that tipped employees make a fair wage.
House Transportation & Public Works Committee Substitute for House Bill 672 with emergency clause (“Public Peace, Health, Safety & Welfare”), sponsored by Rep. Bobby Gonzales (D-Taos-42), passed the House by a vote of 70-0. It creates the Transportation Financing Committee, a joint interim legislative committee responsible for examining issues related to transportation.
House Appropriations & Finance Committee Substitute for House Bill 628 with emergency clause (“Public Peace, Health, Safety & Welfare – Special Education Funding”), sponsored by Speaker of the House W. Ken Martinez (D-Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, Socorro, San Juan & Valencia-69), passed the House by a vote of 51-15. It makes appropriations for the funding of special education in the state of New Mexico in the event that other appropriations are insufficient or if the state’s proposal for funding is denied.
House Joint Memorial 47 (“Study Public-Private Partnerships”), sponsored by Rep. Georgene Louis (D-Bernalillo-26) and Sen. Tim Keller (D-Bernalillo-17), passed the House by a vote of 38-30. It asks the legislative council to form a task force to study and evaluate the laws regarding public-private partnerships.
Senate Judiciary Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 234 as amended (“New Mexico Chile Advertising Act Violations”), sponsored by Sen. George Munoz (D-Cibola, McKinley & San Juan-4), and carried by Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez (D- Doña Ana, Grant, Sierra-39) passed the House by a vote of 62-1. It expands violations of the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act, clarifying that one may not advertise, describe, label or offer for sale chile peppers using a New Mexico place name in a misleading or deceptive manner. It is not retroactive.
Senate Bill 248 (“Driver Education Instructor Requirements”), sponsored by Sen. Clemente Sanchez (D-Cibola, Socorro, McKinley & Valencia-30), passed the House by a vote of 59-2. It amends the Driving School Licensing Act by removing the requirement that the valid operator’s or chauffeur’s license required by law be aNew Mexico operator’s or chauffeur’s license.
Senate Bill 269 as amended (“Durable Medical Equipment Gross Receipts”), sponsored by Sen. Mary Kay Papen (D-Doña Ana-38), passed the House by a vote of 65-1. It creates a deduction from the receipts tax for the purchase of durable medical equipment and supplies.
Senate Bill 274 (“Horse Shelter Rescue Fund”), sponsored by Sen. George Munoz (D-Cibola, McKinley & San Juan-4), passed the House by a vote of 62-0. It adds a section to The Livestock Code which creates the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund, administered by a board which administers the fund to support horse rescue and retirement facilities. The fund is fed by optional designation of tax refund contributions.
Senate Bill 283 (“Removal of Land from Watershed Districts”), sponsored by Sen. Mary Kay Papen (D-Doña Ana-38), and carried by Rep. George Dodge (D-Curry, De Baca, Guadalupe, Roosevelt, San Miguel-63), passed the House by a vote of 62-1. It amends the Watershed District Act to read that only those members of a watershed district whose land does not contribute to the district and changing the process of discontinuing a watershed district by mandating that a simple majority of the members of that district must petition for its removal, rather than a simple requirement that twenty-five members concur.
Senate Bill 285 (“Local Government Higher Education Facility Property Tax”), sponsored by Sen. Richard Martinez (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval & Santa Fe-5) and carried by Rep. Nick Salazar (D-Colfax, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel-40), passed the House by a vote of 57-10. It authorizes certain counties to impose a property tax for county higher education facilities, which shall not exceed $1.50 per $1,000 of net taxable value of the property. The imposition of the tax is subject to a vote by the qualified electors of that county.
Senate Bill 294 (“Criminal Record Expungement Act”), sponsored by Sen. Michael Sanchez (D-Bernalillo & Valencia-29) and carried by House Majority Whip Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Bernalillo-16), passed the House by a vote of 40-26. The Criminal Record Expungement Act provides for the expungement of records of wrongful arrest, of release without conviction, or is convicted of one misdemeanor or violation of municipal ordinance only.
Senate Bill 315 as amended (“City or County Comprehensive Plans”), sponsored by Sen. Bill O’Neill (D-Bernalillo-13), passed the House by a vote of 67-0. It allows that cities or counties may create a “comprehensive plan”, a plan for the development of land use, infrastructure, public facilities, natural resources and economic development. It clarifies the role of the planning commission in a municipality or a county.
Senate Bill 349 (“Public Service Attorney Loan Repayments”), sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe-25) and carried in the House by Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Bernalillo-18), passed the House by a vote of 65-1. It raises the cap for public service attorney loan repayments from $45,000 to $55,000, meaning that those working as public service attorneys who make $55,000 or less are eligible for an award under this program.
Senate Judiciary Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 353 with emergency clause (“Local Government Record Indexing & Protection”), sponsored by Sen. Howie Morales (D-Catron, Grant & Socorro-28), passed the House by a vote of 68-0. It reconciles multiple amendments to the same portion of law made in 2011 to clarify statute.
Senate Bill 365 as amended (“Home Visiting Accountability Act”), sponsored by Sen. John Sapien (D-Bernalillo & Sandoval-9), passed the House by a vote of 62-1. The Home Visiting Accountability Act establishes statewide standards that govern home visiting programs, allowing for the funding of only home visiting programs that abide by the statewide standards.
Senate Finance Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 397 as amended (“Local Liquor Tax Proceed Uses & Rates”), sponsored by Sen. George Munoz (D-Cibola, McKinley & San Juan-4), passed the House today by a vote of 62-2. It clarifies existing liquor excise tax proceeds, and raises the maximum value of the tax from five percent to six percent. This legislation is specific to McKinley County, and the imposition of the excise tax is subject to a referendum in the locality in which it is imposed. It also provides that proceeds from the excise tax be used to fund social detoxification programs.
Senate Bill 415 as amended (“No Mandatory Parole for Certain Sentences”), sponsored by Sen. Bill O’Neill (D-Bernalillo-13), passed the House by a vote of 60-8. It is a companion bill to HB 538, and removes the mandatory parole provision for persons sentenced to one year or less in prison.
Senate Bill 438 as amended (“Municipal Incorporation Requirements”), sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana-31), passed the House by a vote of 66-0. It requires that in order for a municipality to incorporate, its application must be approved by a review team to be set up by the Local Government Division of the Department of Finance and Administration.
Senate Judiciary Committee Substitute for Senate Conservation Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 479 with emergency clause (“Adequate Subdivision Water Supplies”), sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe-25) and presented on the House floor by Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe-47), passed the house by a vote of 55-13. It proposes to end the double-dipping of water rights in the state of New Mexico by requiring people who divide up a parcel of land to ensure that each subdivision of that land, as sold, has access to enough water to meet the needs of that subdivision before plat approval, ensuring that property owners do not sell all of the agricultural rights to the water that comes with the land before subdividing it for habitation.
Senate Judiciary Committee Substitute for Senate Conservation Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 480 with emergency clause (“Subdivision Water Permits”), sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe-25) and carried in the House by Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe-47), passed the House by a vote of 41-25. The bill allows subdividers to provide proof of a service commitment from a water provider and an opinion from the state engineer that the subdivider can provide sufficient water rights for each subdivision.
On the Floor in the Senate
House Bill 37 as amended (“Annual Delinquent Property Tax Sales”), sponsored by Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez (D-Doña Ana, Grant & Sierra-39), passed the Senate unanimously. The bill requires the Taxation and Revenue Department to conduct delinquent property tax sales in each county with delinquent properties at least one time in each calendar year.
House Bill 76 (“Frontier Communities Program”), sponsored by Rep. Patty Lundstrom (D-McKinley & San Juan-9), passed the Senate unanimously. The bill assigns administration of the Main Street Program’s Frontier Communities Program to the coordinator of the program, an appointee of the Secretary of Economic Development.
House Bill 171 (“Insurance Coverage for Telemedicine Services”), sponsored by Rep. Stephen Easley (D-Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Torrance & Valencia-50), passed the Senate unanimously. It amends sections of the Health Care Purchasing Act, the New Mexico Insurance Code, the Health Maintenance Organization Law and the Nonprofit Health Care Plan Law to mandate that health coverage available under the Health Care Purchasing Act must allow covered benefits to be provided through telemedicine services
House Bill 85 (“Geothermal Resource Leasing”), sponsored by Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe-47), passed the Senate by a vote of 40-0. It makes the statutory definition of “geothermal resources” more specific, and specifies that geothermal resources may be administered as a renewable energy resource, meaning that an attempt to harness it should not cause it to lessen outside of normal seasonal or periodical fluctuations. It also allows for a fee equal to the “fair market value” to be paid as royalty from the sale of mineral by-products or chemical compounds recovered from geothermal fluids.
House Bill 227 (“Move Brain Injury Advisory Council Functions”), sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Bernalillo-18), passed the Senate by a vote of 39-0. The bill moves the Brain Injury Advisory Council from the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to the Governor’s Commission on Disability, the aims of which are more perfectly aligned with those of the Brain Injury Advisory Council.
House Bill 443 (“Unpaid Unemployment Civil Actions”), sponsored by Rep. Phillip Archuleta (D-Doña Ana-36), passed the Senate by a vote of 35-4. The bill amends the minimum wage act to state that civil suits intended to recover unpaid or underpaid wages, as well as those to collect unemployment contributions, shall be made a priority.
House Bill 327 (“Physical Education Credit Hours for Funding”), sponsored by Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe-47), passed the Senate by a vote of 40-0. It states that the Higher Education Department must include all physical education student credit hours for the purposes of determining funding for community colleges and branch community colleges which provide physical education.
House Bill 415 (“Public Water Supply Contaminant Testing”), sponsored by Rep. George Dodge (D-Curry, De Baca, Guadalupe, Roosevelt & San Miguel-63), passed the Senate by a vote of 40-0. It requires that the Department of Environment compile a list of contaminants for which public water supplies are tested, including those contaminants which may not be required by federal law.
House Bill 540 (“Police Athletic League License Plate”), sponsored by Rep. Rick Miera (D-Bernalillo-11), passed the Senate by a vote of 26-8. HB 540 authorizes a special registration plate that indicates the owner of a vehicle is a supporter of the New Mexico Sheriff and Police Athletic League
House Bill 58 (“Rural Telecom Carrier Regulation”), sponsored by Rep. Debbie Rodella (D-Rio Arriba, Santa Fe & Taos-41), passed the Senate by a vote of 25-10. It amends the Rural Telecommunications Act to relax the requirements for incumbent rural telecommunications carriers.
House Joint Memorial 5 (“Los Alamos Area G Cleanup”), sponsored by Rep. Carl Trujillo (D-Santa Fe-46) and Sen. Carlos Cisneros (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe & Taos), passed the Senate by a vote of 36-1. The memorial requests that the federal government fully fund a cleanup of Area G on the Los Alamos National Laboratory Property, and that the United States Department of Energy provide a status report to the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee during the 2013 legislative interim.