Think New Mexico Recaps 2016 Legislative Session

By Think New Mexico

The 2016 legislative session wrapped up a few minutes ago, and we wanted to report to you the final outcomes of Think New Mexico’s initiatives.

Scholarships Safe for Another Year! (Senate Bill 180)

  • Thanks in part to 2,747 emails sent to legislators by New Mexicans like you, the House Ways and Means Committee defeated Senate Bill 180 on a bipartisan 8-5 vote.
  • This bill would not only have repealed the requirement that a minimum of 30% of lottery revenues go to scholarships, but also would have opened the door to new and different kinds of lottery gaming. So Senate Bill 180 was lose-lose for New Mexico, expanding gambling while freezing the dollars available for scholarships.
Public Infrastructure Financing Reform Bill Lays Foundation for Next Year (House Bill 307)
  • Our legislation to create a transparent, merit-based funding system for the state’s public infrastructure unfortunately failed to pass the House Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee on a 5-4 vote.
  • However, the bill received widespread support from leading business and labor organizations, numerous newspapers, and New Mexicans across the state who wrote to legislators asking them to support it.
  • As a KRQE news segment highlighted, the need for reform remains urgent, and while we are naturally disappointed that we did not get legislation passed this session, we are pleased with the foundation that has been laid for these reforms for next year.
Bill to Reimpose Food Tax Stopped In Its Tracks (Senate Bill 281)
  • This bill was introduced in the second week of the legislative session, and we monitored it closely until the final second. Back in 2013, legislation to reimpose the food tax was sent to the full Senate at 9 p.m. the night before the session concluded and we had to scramble to stop it. Fortunately, during this year’s session the fierce public opposition to this regressive tax prevailed, and the bill died without receiving a single hearing.
Business Portal Funded (House Bill 2)
  • In 2014, Think New Mexico successfully championed the enactment of a user-friendly, one-stop online portal for all business fees and filings with state agencies. The portal aims to make New Mexico friendlier for small businesses and start-ups.
  • We were very pleased that this year’s tight budget included $600,000 to continue implementation work on the portal, which should be online by the end of this year. Please contact Governor Martinez and encourage her to sign this appropriation!
Many thanks for your support throughout this year’s session, and especially for all the emails you sent to your legislators and the governor about these bills: they were invaluable.