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2016 Legislative Agenda

Visitors to the Roundhouse gather on the third floor around the rotunda railing in preparation for the call to order of committee meetings on the first full week of the New Mexico State legislature on January 24. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Visitors to the Roundhouse gather on the third floor around the rotunda railing in preparation for the call to order of committee meetings on the first full week of the New Mexico State legislature on January 24. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – Deciding on a $6.5 billion-plus budget for the year that begins July 1 is the biggest job for the Legislature. The agenda for the 30-day session is restricted by law to budget and tax matters, changes to the state Constitution, and whatever other issues the governor approves. Here’s a quick look at proposals some lawmakers hope will be considered.

BUSINESS/LABOR

Enact “right-to-work” law; shield agricultural operations from being sued as nuisances; allow businesses to deny service to gay and transgender people; reduce workers’ compensation to claimants who were intoxicated; cap interest rates on small loans; expand veterans’ business preference; limit prevailing wage requirement on public works projects; increase minimum wage; create Rapid Workforce Development program; end workers’ compensation benefits in certain circumstances; modify renewable portfolio standards for energy production; increase funding for job training programs, businesses that relocate or expand.

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CRIME

Expand crimes subject to the”three strikes” law; add police, homeless to hate crimes law; close loophole for pornographic images sent to children; make each image of child pornography a separate crime; increase penalties for repeat DWI; add a felony for DWI with revoked license; create crime of DWI with minor in vehicle; hike penalties for child sexual predators in authority positions; legalize and tax marijuana; eliminate time limit for prosecuting second-degree murder; terminate parental rights of rapists; allow judges to deny bail to dangerous defendants; fund work on rape kit backlog; increase ignition interlock duration; allow extended orders of protection for convicted rapists; allow judges to consider some juvenile records of adult offenders; toughen child abuse penalties.

EDUCATION

Increase teacher pay; require background checks for all school employees; increase percentage of college athletic scholarships to state residents; remove school superintendents from the School Personnel Act; require retention of third-graders who can’t read proficiently; allow professionals to be adjunct teachers; require lifesaving skills training for students; provide college credit for military training; put forfeited lottery prizes into tuition fund; require schools to develop bullying prevention policies; create K-5 Plus pilot project; increase distribution from permanent fund for early childhood education; deny driver’s licenses to truants.

ETHICS/TRANSPARENCY

Create an ethics commission by law or by changing the Constitution; clarify that corrupt public officials lose pensions; require reporting of governor’s inaugural spending; require audits and more reporting on governor’s contingency fund; require public reporting of allocations in the annual capital projects spending bill; require lobbyists’ employers to disclose spending and require lobbyists to disclose their legislation and spending on lawmakers; upgrade campaign finance reporting system; require more disclosure of public officials’ financial interests and potential conflicts of interest.

GOVERNMENT

Create Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses or ID cards; allow police officers, other public employees, to return to work after retiring while still collecting pensions; provide bonuses to police officers who work after retirement age; require background checks on gun show buyers; allow communities to enact under-16 curfews; enact automatic voter registration; pay state legislators a salary; create an independent redistricting commission; create a Capital Outlay Planning Council; create a state inspector general; require reporting of independent campaign expenditures; change financing of public elections; authorize Department of Agriculture to research industrial hemp.

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HEALTH/FAMILY

Ensure visitation rights of adult children whose parents are in another’s care; create an alert system for missing developmentally disabled persons; increase contribution rates to Retiree Health Care Fund; prohibit late-term abortions; require behavioral, developmental screenings for children on public assistance; expand behavioral health training for EMTs; fund supportive services for grandparents raising grandchildren; fund expanded services at school-based health centers.

TAXES

Continue tax credit for home, small-business solar systems; enact gross receipts tax deduction for some businesses on Saturdays after Thanksgiving; raise the tax on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes; increase working families tax credit; reduce some oil and gas tax rates; create rural infrastructure tax credit; reduce some income tax rates; shift motor vehicle excise tax temporarily to road fund; enact income tax deduction for retired military; exempt sales of elk-hunting authorizations from gross receipts taxes; enact technology readiness gross receipts tax credit for national labs; delay corporate income tax rate reduction; reduce tax rate for some new businesses.


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