Free fishing and $500 checks: 6 things New Mexico lawmakers did that might affect you and your family - Albuquerque Journal

Free fishing and $500 checks: 6 things New Mexico lawmakers did that might affect you and your family

New Mexico lawmakers passed 246 bills this session – most of which the governor has until April 7 to act on. Here’s a look at how some of the proposals might affect you or your family:

More cash in your account

Legislators voted to:

• Issue rebate checks of $500 for an individual filer or $1,000 for a married couple filing jointly

• Reduce personal income taxes. Tax rates would be reduced on the first $66,500 in income for an individual filer and the first $100,000 for joint filers.

• Lighten the sales tax. The gross receipts tax that shoppers pay on most goods and services is set to drop by 0.125 percentage points on July 1 each of the next four years.

Less voting paperwork

Legislators voted to:

• Offer a permanent absentee voter list. Sign up once and have ballots mailed to your address for every statewide election.

• Automate some voter registration. Registered voters will have their address automatically updated if they renew or update their driver’s license.

Changes in the classroom

Legislators voted to:

• Reduce graduation requirements. Incoming high school students will need 22 units to graduate, not 24.

• Expand electives. High schools would be required to offer electives in financial literacy, computer science, servicing learning, career technical education and languages other than English.

• Increase instructional time. The minimum hours of required instructional time for students would inch up to 1,140 hours a year, a 15% increase for elementary schools and 6% for secondary schools.

Fish for free

Legislators voted to:

• Double the free fishing days. The state would offer two weekends a year, not just two Saturdays, for people to fish without a license.

Eye on safety

Legislators voted to:

• Crack down on organized retail crime. Prosecutors would have new crimes and penalties to pursue against thieves who work together to steal from grocery, big box and retail stores.

• Track the sale of catalytic converters. Second-hand metal dealers would keep records on who they buy the emission control devices from, allowing law enforcement to target thieves.

• Require gun owners to keep their firearms out of kids’ reach.

Upkeep and upgrades

Legislators voted to:

• Authorize $1.2 billion in capital projects that include upgrades to schools, parks, roads, community centers, water and sewer lines, and museums.


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