Legislature bills roundup


  • Senate Bill 313, the $6.2 billion budget, is a compromise bill, rising from the ashes of the original House Bill 2, which stalled in the House. It includes $17.5 million in new money for the Public Education Department for merit pay for teachers and principals, teacher evaluations and other initiatives that Gov. Susana Martinez supported. However, individual school districts would have discretion over whether they choose to adopt the initiatives, and that decision would be subject to terms of collective bargaining agreements with teachers’ unions. The budget also authorized a study of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief route through New Mexico.

    Legislature 2014

    Legislature 2014

  • SB 347, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, calls for using alcohol excise tax money, as well as a general fund appropriation, for two years to shore up the lottery scholarship fund, which has relied on revenue from lottery ticket sales to provide tuition for close to 14,000 students in recent years. Gov. Susana Martinez said Thursday she likes the bill.
  • Ryan Flynn: The Senate confirmed the secretary of the state Environment Department on a 30-11 vote.
  • SB 19, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, and Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, prohibits texting while driving. The bill would allow police to ticket drivers they see typing on cellphones or reading messages while driving or stopped in traffic. Violators would face a $25 fine for a first offense and a $50 fine for subsequent tickets.
  • SB 268, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, authorizes counties to raise gross receipts taxes and sets aside state money for hospitals to treat indigent patients. Some hospitals have said they might have to close without the funding.
  • Senate Joint Memorial 3, sponsored by Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, requires the Children, Youth and Families Department to report data to the Legislature regarding foster children and employee caseloads.
  • House Joint Resolution 16, a constitutional amendment that would enable the State Investment Council to invest more of the land-grant endowment in international stocks. The sponsors, Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas and Sen. Tim Keller, both Albuquerque Democrats, said the amendment could add at least $100 million a year to the state in investment earnings. Voters will decide on the amendment in November.
  • SB 75, sponsored by Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, would allow public schools to stock and provide emergency medications, such as EpiPens for allergic reactions to insect and food allergies and inhalers for apparent respiratory distress
  • SB 122, sponsored by Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, would allow school districts to decide which classes involving physical activity could be substituted to meet the state’s requirement for one credit of physical education in order to graduate. Such classes could include marching band, cheerleading, rodeo and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
  • SB 9, sponsored by Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, would establish a state online, one-stop portal to allow businesses to take care of all applications for licenses, permits and other state requirements.
  • SB 164, sponsored by Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, would allow the pueblos of Taos, Nambe, Pojoaque, Tesuque and San Ildefonso to lease their water rights for up to 99 years, under a federal law, instead of the 10-year limit under state law.
  • House Bill 24, sponsored by Rep. Bob Wooley, R-Roswell, would eliminate the tax on sales of commercial airplanes. The bill would apply to commercial airplanes with more than 10,000 pounds of landing weight.
  • SB 119, sponsored by Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo, would expedite license applications of nurses from other states.
  • House Memorial 38, sponsored by Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces, asks the Legislative Finance Committee to study the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.
  • House Joint Memorial 13, sponsored by Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque, asks New Mexico’s congressional delegation to seek funding to clean up the massive jet fuel leak that has contaminated groundwater at Kirtland Air Force Base. According to the Environment Department, the decades-old contamination plume was created by more than 8 million gallons of jet fuel that has migrated in groundwater more than a mile from the contamination site and is about 1.3 miles from the nearest city water wells.
  • HM 57, sponsored by Rep. Cathrynn N. Brown, R-Carlsbad, asks the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to conduct a feasibility study on building small, modular nuclear reactors as part of the agency’s state energy plan.


  • Hanna Skandera: Three motions in the Senate Rules Committee to send her nomination for education secretary to the Senate floor all failed. Although she did not get confirmed, Skandera can continue running the Public Education Department — and receiving her salary — as secretary-designate.
  • Senate Joint Resolution 13, which would have allowed voters to decide on a constitutional amendment that would raise the statewide minimum wage to $8.30 an hour failed in the House. Another minimum wage measure, SB 285, sponsored by Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants, would have raised the minimum wage to $8 an hour. Gov. Susana Martinez said Thursday she would have signed this bill, but it never made it out of Senate committees.
  • HJR 15, sponsored by Rep. James Roger Madalena, D-Jemez Pueblo, would have allowed the Navajo Nation to increase its total number of casinos in the state to five.
  • HB 333, sponsored by House Speaker Kenny Martinez, D-Grants, known as “Omaree’s Law,” would have made it easier for the state Children, Youth and Families Department to remove children from the care of parents suspected to be abusive.
  • SJR 4, sponsored by Sen. Keller, would have allowed the current 5.5 percent of the state Land Grant Permanent Fund to be distributed for the purposes of education. Without the amendment, only 5 percent of the fund will be distributed starting in 2016. The amendment would have meant an additional $60 million to $80 million for public schools.
  • HB 127, sponsored by Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque, would have repealed the 2003 law that allows undocumented workers to have driver’s licenses. It was tabled in the House Labor Committee.
  • SJR 10, a proposed constitutional amendment on legalizing marijuana that was sponsored by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, did not have enough votes to get out of the Senate Rules Committee.
  • HB 116, 241; SB 168, 221: Four bills that aimed to provide funds to keep Amtrak’s Southwest Chief route running through Northern New Mexico stalled in various committees.
  • SB 96, sponsored by Sen. Bill O’Neill, D-Albuquerque, which would prohibit legislators, Cabinet secretaries and other state officials from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving office, was tabled by the Senate Rules Committee. A similar bill, HB 82, sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane, D-Albuquerque, passed the House, but died in the Senate Rules Committee.
  • HB 44, sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, would have required background checks for guns sold at gun shows, but the bill never got a message from the governor.
  • HB 115, a bill to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors that was sponsored by Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec, and Sen. Keller passed in the House and two Senate committees, but died awaiting debate on the Senate floor.
  • Senate Resolution 1, sponsored by Sen. Wirth, would have banned firearms in the Senate. It died early in the session, effectively killed by the Senate Rules Committee. House Resolution 3, sponsored by Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, which would have banned firearms in the House of Representatives, died awaiting a hearing on the House floor.
  • SB 8, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, would have allowed foreign students studying science, technology, engineering and math to pay in-state tuition at New Mexico universities.
  • SB 10, sponsored by Papen, would have established a post-performance incentive — rather than the type of up-front incentives usually offered — for businesses that create high-paying jobs.
  • SJR 6, sponsored by Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, was a proposed constitutional amendment to make same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The measure never was heard in committee.
  • HR 2, HCR 1: Two measures dealing with webcasting legislative meetings, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, stalled in the House. HR 2 would have required the Legislative Council Service to maintain archived webcasts of legislative floor sessions and committee meetings online so people could watch at their convenience. HCR 1 would have required the Legislative Council Service to webcast interim committee meetings.
  • SB 283, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, would have offered an electricity rate discount to qualifying big businesses and would have let utility companies recover the difference in rates by charging more to residential and small-business customers. A similar bill passed in the House.
  • HB 238, sponsored by Rep. Egolf, would have made it a crime to distribute “revenge porn” — intimate nude photos of former lovers with the intent of embarrassing or hurting them. It died awaiting a committee hearing in the House.
  • HB 190 and 191, sponsored by Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, would have made any level of drugs or residual traces of drugs in a driver’s system evidence of driving while impaired. The measures died awaiting committee hearings in the House.
  • SB 78, sponsored by Sen. Keller, would have subjected art auctions to the regulatory authority of the Attorney General’s Office. It did not receive a message from the governor to be considered by the Legislature.
  • SB 138, sponsored by Sen. William Soules, D-Las Cruces, called for a one-time, $250,000 appropriation to study likely scenarios for the state’s water supply and water demand in light of climate change over the next 20 years. The study also would have developed a list of the greatest water vulnerabilities facing the state. The bill ended up stuck in the Senate Conservation Committee.
  • House Memorial 76, sponsored by Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, asked the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to post information about the number of wells, the number of inspectors and the violations on the agency’s website. While a lot of the information is available within the department, it isn’t easy to find or user-friendly. The Oil Conservation Division said it would cost $440,432 to compile the data for 2008-2013 and maintain it.
  • SB 16, by Sen. Wirth, to provide incentives for water-harvesting systems, failed to get through committees. It would have provided a a tax credit of up to 20 percent of the cost of buying and installing a new residential or commercial water-harvesting system, with the maximum for an individual capped at $5,000.
  • SB 91 would have allowed counties to opt into a special tax-assessment district for water-harvesting systems, similar to the option currently available for counties to create renewable energy tax assessment districts. The districts let homeowners voluntarily take out low-interest loans, paid back through property taxes, to install renewable energy systems or, in this case, water-harvesting systems.
  • SB 94, sponsored by Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, would have given the administration more power to ban fireworks during severe drought conditions.

— Santa Fe New Mexican