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What the NM Legislature did

Here is a summary of some of the legislation that passed or failed during the 60-day session of the New Mexico Legislature. Gov. Susana Martinez has until April 10 to sign or veto bills passed during the final three days of the session, which ended Saturday.

Crime/Corrections

PASSED: Create the crime of “revenge porn,” the unauthorized distribution of sensitive images; prohibit sale of e-cigarettes to minors; revise law enforcement seizure and forfeiture proceedings; house low-risk prisoners in halfway houses; toughen penalties for sexual exploitation of children; require cellular and pager providers to send text messages when Amber Alerts are sent out in the geographical area; prohibit the alteration of air bags and the sale and installation of counterfeit or nonfunctional air bags; reduce period of supervised probation for good behavior; revise penalties for Liquor Control Act violations at tastings;
allow people with one DWI conviction in another state to get a driver’s license even if they didn’t have an ignition interlock.

FAILED: Require background checks of buyers at gun shows; legalize and regulate marijuana; decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana and reduce other penalties; require background checks for medical marijuana provider employees; mandatory life sentence after three violent crimes; create crime of DWI with child in vehicle; option to terminate parental rights of rapists; expunge some arrest, conviction records; treat individual child porn images as separate offenses; give police 24 hours to arrest domestic violence offender without warrant; add homeless victims to hate crimes law; toughen the law making it a crime to deal food stamps; restrict use of solitary confinement; bar purchase of alcohol by those with interlock licenses.

Budget/Finance

PASSED: $6.2 billion budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year funding schools, government; authorize the New Mexico Finance Authority to make loans from the Public Project Revolving Fund for 90 infrastructure projects statewide; increase flow into the Severance Tax Permanent Fund to shore it up; authorize Village of Taos Ski Valley Tax Increment Development District to issue up to $44 million in tax-exempt bonds.

FAILED: $264 million package of public works projects around New Mexico; increase payout from Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood programs.

Land/Water

PASSED: Require written permission from a landowner to wade through non-navigable water on private land; allow the Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp for commercial or research and development purposes; authorize the use of volunteers to work with the Department of Game and Fish; create a Rio Grande Trail Commission to plan and develop a 500-mile-long trail; appropriate $1.8 million to the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to match federal funds to finance water projects; create a board and a fund for forest and watershed restoration projects; authorize the New Mexico Finance Authority to make loans or grants for 127 projects from the water project fund.

FAILED: Clarify that farm operations are not nuisances; study transfer of federal lands to state management; revise membership and criteria for appointment of Interstate Stream Commission members.

Government

PASSED: Reorganize Department of Public Safety; allow brewers and wineries with restaurant or dispenser licenses to sell wholesale; allow the transfer of liquor licenses out of under-quota local option districts and into over-quota districts; give the Insurance Nominating Committee the authority to set the salary of the insurance superintendent; reduce size of military base planning commission; create a Board of Body Art Practitioners to regulate tattooing; require child-resistant packages for liquid nicotine; lower the maximum speed limit on unposted county roads to 55 mph; allow municipal golf courses, state museums to sell distilled spirits as well as beer, wine; establish a student loan program for eligible social workers at the Children, Youth and Families Department; authorize licensure of barbers after apprenticeships; allow state workers to donate sick, annual leave to colleagues.
FAILED: Ban issuance of driver’s licenses to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally; create two-tier driver’s license system including REAL ID-compliant licenses and allowing immigrants in the country illegally to continue to get licenses; require Department of Public Safety to issue “Brittany Alerts” for missing, endangered developmentally disabled; establish due process protections for Medicaid contractors.

Education

PASSED: Change minimum college credits for elementary, secondary licensure; continue K-3 plus program for certain schools; authorize sale of state property in Santa Fe to the New Mexico School for the Arts; entitle spouses, children of veterans to in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities; prohibit school personnel from requiring students to use psychotropic medication; streamline teacher administrative licensure; create a state board and fund named after Carlos Vigil to help eradicate bullying, give school districts more autonomy over textbooks, educational materials.

FAILED: Hold back third-graders who score poorly on the state reading test and expand intervention for struggling readers; allow experts to teach with adjunct teaching licenses; eliminate requirement for home-schooled students to take test to be eligible for lottery scholarships; repeal A-F school rating system; take driver’s licenses away from habitual truants; require charter school leases at market rates; allow in-state tuition for certain international, out-of-state students; limit standardized testing; delay use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations and A-F school grades for two years.

Business/Labor

PASSED: Expand Local Economic Development Act fund from $15 million to $37 million; allow film companies to assign their tax credits to banks to back loans; allow gas, electric utilities to offer economic development rates; make permanent a 2013 law saying airline employees who voluntarily trade shifts aren’t paid overtime; allow registered agents representing multiple corporate entities to pay one fee to update addresses.

FAILED: Raise the hourly minimum wage; ban nonunion workers from having to pay union fees as a condition of employment; prohibit public payroll deductions for union dues; eliminate the prevailing wage requirement for public works projects; cap loan interest rates at 36 percent; reduce unemployment benefits; limit local government authority over oil, gas industry; outlaw discrimination based on pregnancy or childbirth; regulate ride-sharing services; allow auditor to designate Historically Underutilized Businesses for state contracts; further reduce workers’ compensation benefits to intoxicated or impaired workers.

Elections

PASSED: Require secretary of state to allow online voter registration.

FAILED: Eliminate caps on campaign contributions; require photo voter ID; schedule school district, school bond, conservancy district, other elections in November of odd-numbered years; hold municipal elections with general elections; allow voter registration with health insurance exchange enrollment; allow some 17-year-olds to vote in primaries; increase voting convenience centers; require physical, not just verbal, identification for in-person voting; require broader disclosure of independent expenditures in campaigns.

Health

PASSED: Have hospitals’ cost, quality information posted on a public website; restrict enforceability of noncompete clauses for some health practitioners; establish a statewide vaccine purchasing program through the Department of Health; limit liability for those using defibrillators; require health insurance plans to cover prescriptions for less than a 30-day supply of a medication to synchronize prescriptions; require quicker credentialing of doctors to speed up reimbursement; give optometrists increased authority to prescribe drugs; expand eligibility to use nurse educator fund for obtaining advanced degrees; require HSD to provide Medicaid to former foster care recipients until age 26 even if foster care was provided in another state.

FAILED: Ban late-term abortions; require parental notification when minors seek abortions; license and regulate dental therapists; create community health fund to study uranium mining impacts on health; authorize judges to order mentally ill people who meet certain criteria into Assisted Outpatient Treatment programs; create Medical Cannabis Research Board and Fund; establish community engagement teams to link mentally ill people with voluntary services; require insurance plans to cover services for brain injury patients; ensure access to women’s health services.

Taxes

PASSED: Authorize counties, municipalities to impose 2-cents-a-gallon gasoline and special fuels tax; expand productions eligible for film tax credits and encourage local hiring; allow delinquent payers of property tax to pay county treasurers rather than the state; allow property tax notices to be sent by email; allow disabled veterans to transfer their property tax exemption if they move during the tax year; expand solar power tax credit to include leasing solar system; enact gross receipts tax break for receipts from out-of-state athletic, entertainment events; allow taxpayers to direct refunds to senior services.

FAILED: Impose 2 percent flat tax, eliminating existing exemptions and deductions; increase gasoline and diesel taxes 5 cents a gallon for road fund; provide income tax break for military retirees, spouses; enact tax package including expanded credits for investors and technology jobs creators, and tax deductions for sales to U.S. Department of Defense; provide income tax break for military retirees, spouses; give tax credit for electric vehicles.

Gambling

PASSED: Approve new, 22-year gambling compacts with Indian tribes; require Racing Commission to follow certain guidelines for testing racehorse specimens.

FAILED: Allow racetracks to expand comps to customers; cap Indian gambling compact revenue sharing; award lottery scholarships for the full amount of tuition; deposit unclaimed lottery prizes into tuition fund; allow lottery ticket purchase with debit card, eliminate requirement 30 percent of gross revenue go towards tuition, and allow lottery authority to do 10-year contracts for printing and gambling systems.

Ethics/Open government

PASSED: Expand Fraud Against Taxpayers Act to local governments, charter schools to encourage whistleblowers; require more lobbyist information to be posted and readily retrievable from secretary of state website; post state contracts on Sunshine Portal; bar statements firefighters give their employers under threat of dismissal from being released except by court order.
FAILED: Require two-year cooling-off period before ex-legislators can lobby; create a state ethics commission; require public body to allow public comment at meetings.

Confirmations

PASSED: Senate confirms cabinet-level secretaries: Gino Rinaldi, Aging and Long-Term Services; Monique Jacobson, Children, Youth and Families; Gregg Marcantel, Corrections; Veronica Gonzales, Cultural Affairs; Jon Barela, Economic Development; Ryan Flynn, Environment; Tom Clifford, Finance and Administration; Ed Burckle, General Services; Retta Ward, Health; Barbara Damron, Higher Education; Jay Mitchell, Homeland Security; Brent Earnest, Human Services; Kelly Zunie, Indian Affairs; Darryl Ackley, Information Technology; Hanna Skandera, Public Education; Greg Fouratt, Public Safety Tom Blaine, State Engineer; Demesia Padilla, Taxation and Revenue; Rebecca Latham, Tourism; Tom Church, Transportation; Jack Fox, Veterans Services; Celina Bussey, Workforce Solutions.

FAILED: Matt Chandler, University of New Mexico Board of Regents.

Miscellaneous

PASSED: Allow delivery of beer, wine with food to homes, hotels; add tilapia to the species regulated by the State Game Commission; prohibit a homeowners’ association from adopting rules for flag-flying stricter than local, state or federal laws;

FAILED: Ban coyote-killing contests; remove cougars from Game and Fish Department oversight; prohibit horse slaughter, monitor horses at border; ban traps and poisons on public lands; limit further bonding for Spaceport; sell the Spaceport; require the Animal Sheltering Board to develop a statewide spay and neuter program; stay on Mountain Daylight Time year-round.

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