Tuesday’s House Highlights

STATE News:

Highlights for Tuesday from the New Mexico House of Representatives:

On the Floor

     House Joint Memorial 4 as amended, New Mexico Family Caregiver Task Force, sponsored by Rep. Tomás Salazar (D-San Miguel, Santa Fe, Torrance-70) has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 48-0. HJM 4 requests that the Aging and Long-Term Services Department convene a New Mexico Family Caregiver Task Force to create a state plan for addressing the challenges faced by family caregivers.

     House Joint Memorial 9 Advanced Practice Nurse & Midwife Task Force, sponsored by Rep. Nate Cote (D-Doña Ana & Otero-53) has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 48-0. HJM 9 asks the Secretary of Health to convene a task force to identify barriers to practice for advanced practice nurses, nurse-midwives and physician assistants. The task force would report on the effect these barriers have on patients’ access to care and make legislative recommendations for removing these barriers.

     House Joint Memorial 15 as amended Study Pre-booking Diversion Program, sponsored by Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Bernalillo-19) has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 48-0.  HJM 15 requests that the New Mexico Legislative Council direct the appropriate interim committee (that studies courts and justice issues) to study the feasibility of implementing a statewide law enforcement assisted diversion program for nonviolent drug or alcohol dependent offenders.

     House Memorial 47 as amended, Study 24/7 Sobriety & Drug Monitoring Program, sponsored by Emily Kane (D-Bernalillo-15) has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 48-0. The memorial requests the legislative finance committee to undertake a study of the effectiveness of the 24/7 sobriety and drug monitoring program. Participants in a 24/7 sobriety program are required to report to a testing center twice daily and receive an immediate sanction if they test positive. In some rural areas, 24/7 programs use a device that remotely reports the results of alcohol consumption every 30 minutes (for high risk offenders) or a breath device with facial recognition software that requires the participant to provide a breath sample at specific intervals. Because this technology is showing positive results, there is federal grant funding available to help localities establish these programs.

In Committee

     House Joint Resolution 7 State School Regent Nominating Boards, CA, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn (D-Doña Ana-35) received a Do Pass in the House Voters and Elections Committee by a vote of 5-4.  HJR 7 would create a constitutional amendment allowing voters to establish Nominating Committees to recommend qualified regent candidates to the Governor for consideration. Currently, regents are not required to have any set qualifications. HJR 7 now heads to the floor.

     House Bill 10 DWI Sentencing & Interlocks, sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Bernalillo-24), Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Sandoval Rio Arriba, Santa Fe-43), and Rep. Tim Lewis (R-Sandoval-60) has passed the House Transportation and Public Works Committee on a 6-0 vote. HB 10 has three major components: requiring clean blows into the ignition interlocks during the last six months of an offender’s sentence, stiffer sentences for repeat offenders, and requiring and allowing breathalyzers for those under house arrest. HB 10 now goes to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

     House Bill 16, Liquor Tax Distribution to DWI Grant Fund, sponsored by Rep. Carl Trujillo (D-Santa Fe- 46) received a Do Pass on a 17-0 vote in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee with a few amendments. The proposal by Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, would increase the amount that comes from the state liquor excise tax for local DWI grant fund by 4.5 percent for six years, topping out at 68.5 percent. Currently, 41.5 percent of the money from the liquor excise tax goes towards the local DWI grant funds. The committee passed the bill, and amended it with a sunset clause after six years. The bill now heads to the floor.

     House Bill 288 as amended Biodiesel Tax Deduction, sponsored by Rep. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D-Taos-42) has received a Do Pass in the House Transportation and Public Works Committee by a vote of 8-0. HB 288 amends Section 7-13A-5 NMSA 1978, to add a deduction from petroleum products loading (PPL) fee for biodiesel loaded in or imported into New Mexico and delivered to a distributor for subsequent blending or resale by a rack operator.  HB 288a goes to the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.

     House Bill 287 Firefighter Supplemental Benefits, sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane (D-Bernalillo-15) received a unanimous Do Pass out of House Labor and Human Resources Committee. HB 287 amends Section 10-11B-5 NMSA 1978 of the Firefighters’ Survivors Supplemental Benefits Act, which provides survivorship benefits to the surviving spouse or children of firefighters killed in the line of duty, or to surviving parents if there is not a surviving spouse or children, by increasing the survivorship benefits for firefighters killed in the line of duty from $50,000 to $250,000. The $50,000 benefit has been unchanged since 2007. The bill now heads to the house floor.

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