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Gov. signs business-related bills

Gov. Susana Martinez signed several business-related bills on Friday, the deadline she faced for action on bills passed by the Legislature earlier this year.

The governor signed legislation requiring the state Health Department by January 2017 to post hospital-specific cost and quality-of care-information on an easily searchable website that consumers can access free of charge.

Mike Donnelly, health advocacy director for AARP New Mexico, said information on hospital pricing and health outcomes would help members decide where to go for care.

“About a third of our membership is below Medicare eligibility age, and they are trying to make prudent decisions on health care on quality terms and cost differentials,” Donnelly said.

The legislation was a committee substitute for SB 323, sponsored by Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, and SB 474, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, and Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque.

A legislative impact report for SB474 estimated the cost of creating the website to access the information at around $200,000. The money could come from a $1.9 million federal grant the health department recently received.

Among the other bills she signed were:

  • Senate Bill 279, extending the sustainable building tax credit, set to expire at the end of next year, through 2027. An incentive for “green” building, the tax credit has an annual cap of $4 million for single-family home construction and $1 million for commercial construction. The annual allotment for single-family homes has been getting used up within months of becoming available.
  • House Bill 139, allowing hospital patients to designate a lay caregiver who provide aftercare when the patient is discharged. The bill requires hospitals to provide the designated caregiver with a discharge plan and aftercare training in things such as medication management.
  • Senate Bill 537, requiring the state to post actual state contracts and whether they were awarded to out-of-state businesses on the state’s Sunshine Portal. Rue, who sponsored the bill, said flagging state contracts given to out-of-state business can encourage more in-state businesses to bid on state work.
  • Senate Bill 565, extending a 30 percent film tax credit to standalone pilot episodes and making it easier for feature film productions to qualify for the 30 percent labor credit by expanding the definition of “qualified facilities” to include outdoor movie ranches.