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April 8, 2003

Summaries of Bills Signed Tuesday

The Associated Press
    Summaries of bills signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Bill Richardson.
    HB25  —  Increase tire recycling fee that's paid along with annual vehicle registration. Estimated revenues of $750,000-$850,000 will go into a fund that has had no earmarked financing since it was taken in 1999 for highway construction. Effective July 1.
    HB118  —  Allow local governments to invest in securities issued by some federally sponsored agencies such as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association. Effective June 20.
    HB126  —  Technical and definition changes in gross receipts tax law. Effective July 1.
    HB219  —  Update financial oversight responsibilities of Financial Control Division, allow state auditor to use contract auditors. Effective July 1.
    HB248  —  Update optometric licensing laws, including allowing for a replacement contact lens prescription to last for two years and requiring mail order contact lens sellers to register with the state optometric board. Effective June 20.
    HB282  —  Administrative changes in income tax laws, including clarifying an education trust fund tax exemption. Effective June 20 and applies starting in the 2003 tax year.
    HB376  —  Create a nursing excellence program to improve recruitment and retention of nurses; allow for a $25 license renewal surcharge on each nursing license to help finance the program. Effective June 20.
    HB386  —  Adds definition of a generation and transmission electric cooperative to the state's utility law, eliminating the definition reference to a 1999 electric deregulation law. Effective immediately.
    HB402  —  Prescription drug program through Medicaid for lower-income New Mexicans 65 and older. Effective June 20.
    HB412  —  Direct Human Services Department to conducts studies and pilot projects on potential cost containment for Medicaid. Effective immediately.
    HB523  —  Allow state monuments more time after collecting fees to deposit the money into the state treasurer; up to 10 days rather than 24 hours after the money is collected. Effective June 20.
    HB528  —  Create a pilot program to train and certify school aides to administer prescription drugs or other medications to public school students. Effective June 20.
    HB536  —  Allow unclaimed child support payments to be used to pay for the state's child support enforcement program, bringing the state into compliance with federal regulations. Effective June 20.
    HB557  —  Clarify that Children, Youth and Families Department licenses certain mental health facilities serving youth up to age 21, such as residential treatment centers, community mental health centers and day treatment centers. Effective June 20.
    HB558  —  Assist University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in financing a proposed expansion; allows the use of state property as collateral for a bond guarantee or loan. Effective immediately.
    HB612  —  Updates notary public laws, including setting the maximum fees that can be charged by a notary public. Effective July 1.
    HB614  —  Comply with federal requirement for a uniform method of enforcing medical support orders, which require a noncustodial parent to provide health coverage for a child through an employer's group insurance plan. Effective immediately.
    HB254  —  Create an exception in the public records law to block public access to some documents, such "tactical response plans," that could be used for a terrorist attack. Effective July 1.
    HB644  —  Stop the state's gasoline tax from dropping by one-cent-a-gallon in July; keeps the rate at 17 cents by repealing part of a 1995 law. Effective June 20.
    HB650  —  Set aside two elk permits each year for New Mexicans under 21 with life-threatening illnesses. Effective June 20.
    HB668  —  Require the Medicaid fraud unit in the attorney general's office to enter into an agreement with the Human Services Department and Children, Youth and Families Department for coordinating investigations into potential fraud. Effective June 20.
    HB701  —  Clarify that certain property tax refund claims are failed against the county assessor. Effective June 20, and applies starting 2003 tax year.
    HB659  —  Expand economic development incentives, allowing any county to offer up to a 100 percent property tax exemption for equipment and commercial personal property of qualifying businesses for up to 20 years. Effective June 20.
    HB736  —  Update state laws on adoptions to bring them into compliance with federal requirements governing the adoption of children from another country; requires criminal background check on those filing a petition to adopt a child. Effective July 1.
    HB762  —  Establish new method for estimating corporate tax payments. Effective June 20, applies starting in the 2003 tax year.
    HB813  —  Changes the penalty, in some instances, for the crime of tampering with evidence; generally ties the penalty to the underlying crime. If the underlying crime is a misdemeanor, then tampering with evidence would be a petty misdemeanor. If the underlying crime is a 1st or 2nd-degree felony, then tampering with evidence would be a 3rd degree felony. Currently, it's a fourth-degree felony, which is punishable by 18 months in prison. Effective July 1.
    HB849  —  Revise the Radiation Protection Act to give secretary of the Environment Department more regulatory powers, including going to court or issuing emergency orders to stop violations when there is public safety threat. The agency regulates equipment with radioactive materials, such as X-ray equipment. Effective July 1.
    HB976  —  Recodifies current practices for issuing of permits for domestic wells, livestock wells and temporary wells. Effective June 20. Lawmakers changed the measure to eliminate a provision that would have allowed the state engineer to limit the amount of water when issuing a domestic well permit.
    HB1005  —  Create a "tourism enterprise fund" that would help pay for state efforts to promote tourism; the fund could hold money provided by the Legislature or from the sales of souvenirs at visitors centers, grants, TV program rights and other money. Effective June 20.
    HB1039  —  Allow major political parties to select their presidential candidates by a caucus or convention system instead of participating in the state's June presidential primary; current major parties are the Democrats, Republicans and Green Party. Also require people to be registered with a political party by late January in a presidential election year in order to qualify to become delegates to the party's national nominating convention. Currently the delegates must be registered at least 40 days before the June presidential primary. Effective June 20.
    HB24  —  Make part-time employees eligible for state's in-plant training program. Effective June 20.
    HB919  —  Make film and multimedia companies eligible for the state's in-plant training program; the state will pay for half of the salaries paid to trainees after the completion of the film production. Effective July 1.
    HB409  —  Permit the opening of outer mailing envelopes of absentee ballots up to three days before an election. Effective June 20.
    HB702  —  Permit military personnel and other voters who are overseas to send their absentee ballots to a county clerk by fax. Effective June 20.
    HB383  —  Revise state election law to conform to federal requirements and qualify New Mexico for federal election money. Effective July 1.
    HB984  —  Revise absentee and early voting provisions; shorten the time for absentee voting to 28 days before an election instead of the current 45 days; shorten early in-person voting to 17 days before an election instead of 20 days; expand the number of satellite voting places for early voting in some counties, including Bernalillo County. Effective June 20.
    HB985  —  Allow candidates and nonpartisan election-related groups to have poll watchers and permit them to inspect voter lists to determine who has voted. Effective June 20.
    HB986  —  Require county clerks to report absentee and early vote totals by precinct for each candidate and ballot question; currently, absentee votes are reported down to legislative district level. During redistricting, lawmakers complained that they didn't have the detailed vote breakouts to help in better determining the political performance of changes in their district boundaries. Effective June 20.
    HB1035  —  Allow oversized utility service vehicles, with a special state permit, to operate on roads without restrictions on hours or weather conditions. Effective July 1.
    HB35  —  Establish a state-administered program allowing lower-income New Mexicans to establish "individual development accounts" that could be used for higher education, buying a house, home improvements, starting or expanding a business or buying a car needed for work. The state would match some of the money saved by the individual. Effective July 1.
    HB109  —  Provide legal and procedural safeguards for people who are targets of grand jury investigations. Effective July 1.
    HB203  —  Allow the Water Trust Board to create a drought strike team to deal with emergency water shortages; make water conservation projects eligible for financing from the water trust. Effective June 20.
    HB279  —  Revises requirements to take an examination to become certified as a journeyman electrician. Effective June 20.
    HB391  —  Creates Technology Enhancement Fund to provide matching money to state universities for certain applied research projects. Effective June 20.
    HB394  —  Creates Work Force Skills Development Fund to provide money to community colleges for high-skills jobs training programs. Effective June 20.
    HB403  —  Allows for irrigation districts to lease water rights to a municipality or other public entity; establishes a procedure to expedite the leases. Effective July 1.
    HB408  —  Allow volunteer firefighters, who receive a pension from a state or local governmental retirement plan, to qualify for benefits from the volunteer firefighters retirement system. Effective June 20.
    HB496  —  Authorize the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority to issue bonds for renovating and maintaining state museums as well as developing permanent exhibits at museum and state monuments; bonds are backed by a share of governmental gross receipts taxes currently used for financing state office buildings. Effective June 20.
    HB594  —  Authorize the New Mexico Finance Authority to issue up to $5.76 million in bonds for renovation and improvements to state museums; earmarks special amounts for 11 projects. Effective June 20.
    HB605  —  Require a standardized identification card for prescription drug benefit plans in New Mexico; spells out information that must be on the ID card. Effective July 1.
    HB876  —  Allow Santa Fe to impose a 1 percent fee on lodging to finance and equip a convention center. Effective June 20.
    HB935  —  Create a 15-member Task Force for Financial Independence to recommend ways to lessen the high poverty rate in the state by developing "strategies to foster financial independence and asset building." The commission will operate until December 2004. Effective June 20.
    HB944  —  Allow wine to be displayed away from segregated liquor areas; for instance, wine could be displayed in a grocery store next to food products. Effective July 1.
    HB756  —  Provide for endowed faculty professorship of $1 million each at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech; the positions are contingent upon the schools providing some matching money. A supplemental budget bill signed by the governor appropriates the money. Effective June 20.
    HB955  —  Require the legislative Health and Human Services Committee to conduct a comprehensive study of health care costs and reforms; a report must be issued by Nov. 1, 2004. Effective June 20.
    HB666  —  Requires manufacturers of prescription drugs to report pricing information, including wholesale and average manufacturer prices, for drugs sold in New Mexico; the information goes to the Human Services Department to help in identifying whether the state is getting the best possible prices on medications for Medicaid and other programs. Effective June 20.
    HB513  —  Expand a newly created program to help older New Mexicans buy prescription drugs at lower cost; revise a senior prescription drug program created last year to expand eligibility to cover people 65 and older regardless of whether they have coverage for prescription coverage; make clear the Retiree Health care Authority has the power to collect a fee of up to $60 a year from participants to administer the program. Effective immediately.
    SB59  —  Allow the state Game and Fish Department to charge people for shooting its decoys, such as artificial deer or elk. Effective July 1.
    SB73  —  Clear the way for a University of New Mexico anesthesiologist who has foreign certification to practice; allow anesthesiologist assistants to perform physical exams before anesthetic is administered; allow a supervising anesthesiologist to supervise three, rather than two, assistants in non-emergencies. Effective June 20.
    SB148  —  Create a 12-member fire planning task force to identify areas most vulnerable to forest fires, develop standards for building codes and ordinances to help reduce fire threat, and work with communities to implement them. Effective June 20.
    SB153  —  Reassign from the Regulation and Licensing Department to the Mortgage Finance Authority the trustee authority for the land title trust fund and the Low-Income Housing Trust Act; allocate 10 percent of the land title trust fund for college scholarships; allow expanded investment of the fund. Effective June 20.
    SB180  —  Make it a misdemeanor for a state employee, or someone acting on his behalf, to require a bidder on a construction contract to obtain a surety bond from a particular company, broker or agent. Effective June 20.
    SB181  —  Add to the Insurance Code certain fees that already are being collected under insurance department rules; require licensed adjusters to report changes of address within 20 days or be fined. Effective June 20.
    SB186  —  Enter New Mexico into the interstate compact for licensure for registered nurses and practical nurses, granting nurses the privilege to practice in other compact states. Effective Jan. 1, 2004.
    SB244  —  Revise the membership and extend the termination date for the Information Technology Commission. Effective immediately.
    SB280  —  Revise liability insurance provisions for construction contracts; require project-specific insurance; restrict indemnity agreements. Effective July 1.
SB286   —   Require state-financed buildings to comply with national flood insurance program standards; allow local governments to expand designation of flood-prone areas. Effective June 20.
    SB289  —   Revise eligibility standards for welfare-to-work program, including allowing children in special education programs to continue receiving cash assistance until age 21. Extends life of the welfare oversight committee. Effective immediately.
    SB298  —  Keep the existing tobacco settlement permanent fund intact, but until the budget year 2007 divert the money that would have gone into it into the general fund, for spending on Medicaid and other programs. Effective June 20.
    SB301  —  Require publishers that print instructional materials for schools to provide them in a mutually agreed on computer or electronic format, to replace Braille textbooks. Effective July 1.
    SB332  —  Require the Human Services Department to do a series of studies, analyses and pilot projects recommended by the Medicaid Reform Committee. Effective June 20.
    SB338  —  Incorporate into law recommendations of the Medicaid Reform Committee regarding state and federal pharmacy programs, drug-buying cooperatives, disease management programs, community health promoters, Medicaid fraud detectors, Medicaid co-payments and premiums. Effective immediately.
    SB358  —  Create a Child Care Facility Revolving Loan Fund administered by the New Mexico Finance Authority to provide low-interest loans to licensed child care providers for improvements, repairs and maintenance. Effective immediately.
    SB360  —  Establish in law a state-funded cash assistance program for higher education students similar to that already operated by the Human Services Department as part of its welfare-to-work services. Effective immediately.
    SB379  —  Streamline the process of filing corporate documents with the Public Regulation Commission. Effective July 1.
    SB385  —  Authorize $972,000 to be taken from the state's reserves to provide matching funds for federally funded soil and water conservation projects. Effective June 20.
    SB386  —  Require the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board to develop telecommunicator training for employees of safety agencies who take calls and dispatch personnel and equipment, and require employees to complete the training within 12 months of starting work. Effective July 1.
    SB397  —  Amend the state's Adoption Act to bring it into compliance with federal laws and regulations governing international adoptions, and designates the Children, Youth and Families Department as the accrediting entity for agencies handling international adoptions. Effective July 1.
    SB410  —  Require counties that adopt subdivision regulations stricter than those in state law to specifically identify and explain the need for them in the counties' comprehensive plans. Effective June 20.
    SB422  —  Create a task force to develop a statewide information and referral plan that would use a 211 telephone number for access to health and human services programs. Effective June 20.
    SB425  —  Create a youth council within the Children, Youth and Families Department made up of youth ages 14 to 19 from every legislative district who would discuss the problems they face and recommend solutions to the governor. Effective June 20.
    SB429  —  Until June 30, 2006, authorize the New Mexico Finance Authority to make loans and grants without the full Legislature's approval for projects determined by the secretary of economic development to be urgently needed, if the NMFA legislative oversight committee approves them. Effective June 20.
    SB438  —   Amend the New Mexico Subdivision Act to prohibit county commissioners from requiring that contiguous parcels owned by a single owner be merged into one parcel. Effective June 20.
    SB508  —  Allow the superintendent of insurance to appoint legal and medical professionals to perform reviews of grievance appeals. Effective June 20.
    SB562  —  Raise licensing and other fees for real estate appraisers and make other changes in the Real Estate Appraisers Act. Effective July 1.
    SB571  —  Change the requirements for licensure as a real estate broker. Effective July 1.
    SB581  —  Provide an income tax credit   —   up to $100,000 over 20 years   —   to landowners who turn over property to a public or private conservation agency to be preserved as open space. Effective Jan. 1, 2004.
    SB586  —  Extend until 2005 the changeover to a new system of nontaxable transition certificates for gross receipts and compensating taxes; delay allows the tax department to incorporate any policy changes that come out of a tax system study commission. Effective June 20.
    SB632   —   Establish a trial program under the jurisdiction of the Board of Nursing to train and certify medication aides to work in licensed nursing facilities. Effective June 20.
    SB641  —  Exempt certain vehicles used to transport seed cotton modules from the requirement to obtain a state oversize vehicle permit. Effective June 20.
    SB665  —  Give state licensing boards the authority to discipline and impose a $1,000 penalty on someone who engages in a regulated profession or occupation without being licensed. Effective July 1.
    SB704  —  Create a water recreation facilities fund, with the money coming from annual fees of up to $150 on public swimming pools, to finance required annual inspections by the Environment Department. Effective June 20.
    SB718   —   Repeal deregulation of the electric utility industry, which was scheduled to take effect in 2007. Effective June 20.
    SB743  —  Require individual or group health care policies or health care plans issued or renewed after July 1 to cover smoking cessation treatment. Effective June 20.
    SB752  —  Update the duties of the Children, Youth and Families Department, including giving it the lead responsibility among state agencies to deal with children's mental health and substance abuse treatment. Effective June 20.
    SB753  —  Require state and local 911 systems to be able to receive emergency notifications by e-mail. Effective July 1, 2005.
    SB768  —  Eliminate the requirement that unclaimed guns in the possession of state, county or municipal law enforcement agencies be sold only to licensed dealers or collectors. Effective July 1.
    SB804  —  Raise the state tax on a pack of cigarettes by 70 cents, to 91 cents, with some revenue for an expansion of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and improvements at Department of Health facilities. Effective July 1.
    SB805  —  Make a test for HIV part of routine prenatal testing but allow pregnant women to opt out if they sign a written statement. Effective June 20.
    SB818  —  Require some insurance plans to cover services by dental hygienists in collaborative practice; clarifies that Medicaid may provide coverage for those services. Effective June 20.
    SB822  —  Eliminate the requirement for prior authorization for drugs prescribed for Medicaid patients being treated for severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Effective June 20.
    SB831  —   Change the types of investments authorized for state retirement trust funds. Effective June 20.
    SB903  —  Allow parties in Public Regulation Commission utility cases to consult with the PRC's advisory staff without others present, as long as PRC rules are followed. Effective June 20.
    SB904  —  Extend the boundary outside of a municipality in which a municipally owned gas utility can have facilities. Effective July 1.
    SB906  —  Increase the number of judges in the 3rd Judicial District from six to seven, and in the 6th Judicial District from two to three. Effective June 20.
    SB932-Create a statewide economic development finance program, to offer a variety of taxable and tax-exempt economic development financing alternatives. The New Mexico Finance Authority could issue economic development bonds, offer loan guarantees and enter into loan participation agreements on behalf of eligible businesses. Effective June 20.
    SB654  —  Gross receipts tax deduction for podiatrists and for services provided by doctors and osteopathic physicians for patients covered by TRICARE, a managed care health insurance program for the military. Effective July 1.
    SB213  —  Provide a gross receipts tax deduction for Medicare receipts of certain clinical laboratories and home health agencies, phased in over three years with the full deduction in budget year 2006. Effective June 20.
    SB126  —   Give the Public Regulation Commission expanded regulatory authority over taxicab and shuttle services. Effective July 1.
    SB698  —   Rewrite the Motor Carrier Act, in part to comply with federal regulatory changes. Effective July 1.
    SB419  —  Require that for certain large projects, employers that benefit from in-plant training funds or the issuance of industrial revenue bonds provide health insurance for their employees. Effective June 20.
    SB28  —  Expand the Human Rights Act to cover sexual orientation and gender identity, making it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians in matters of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and union membership. Effective July 1.
    SB38  —  Allow a judge to impose extra prison time   —   one year for a first offense and two for a repeat offense   —   on an offender found by the court to have been motivated by hate. Effective July 1.
    SB134  —   Appropriate about $8.8 million from the state's general fund to 14 state agencies or universities for more than 140 building projects and equipment purchases. Effective immediately.
    SB231  —  Amend the Public School Finance Act to change the calculation for determining enrollment growth program units. Effective June 20.
    SB369  —   Create a Higher Education Performance Fund, administered by the Commission on Higher Education, from which money would be distributed annually to public post-secondary institutions that met performance standards in the preceding year. Effective June 20.
    SB370  —  Create a Higher Education Program Development Enhancement Fund, administered by the Commission on Higher Education, to help post-secondary institutions improve the state's response to social, economic, educational and other issues. Effective July 1.
    SB377  —  Eliminate the requirement that two-year colleges must use all their other scholarship funds before granting any lottery tuition scholarships. Effective June 20.
    SB457  —  Mandate that as of July 1, group health care insurers continue to cover unmarried dependents until they reach 25, whether or not they are in school. Effective June 20.
    SB466  —  Provide $3 million after July 1 from the faculty endowment fund for endowed chairs of $1 million apiece, directly related to economic development, at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Effective June 20.
    SB494  —  Expand the New Mexico Health Service Corps Act to include dentists and dental hygienists. Effective June 20.
    SB691  —  Transfer the adult basic education program from the state Board of Education to the Commission on Higher Education. Effective immediately.
    SB778  —  Expand eligibility for the Medical Insurance Pool   —   created to provide health insurance to those otherwise unable to get it   —   and change the makeup of the pool's board. Effective June 20.
    SB754  —  Authorize the Medical Insurance Pool   —   the program created to provide health coverage to the uninsurable   —   to establish a prescription drug program for its beneficiaries and to extend that coverage to Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible individuals. Effective June 20.
    SB588  —  Require 60 days' written notice to policyholders when health insurance premiums are raised. Effective June 20.
    SB180  —  Make it a misdemeanor for a state employee, or someone acting on his behalf, to require a bidder on a construction contract to obtain a surety bond from a particular company, broker or agent. Effective June 20.
    SB744  —   Expand the law under which counties and municipalities can exempt certain businesses with commercial personal property from property tax provisions. Class A counties and municipalities within them could participate; electricity generation would qualify. Effective June 20.
    SB779  —  Raise from 3 percent to 6 percent the share of the market value of the Severance Tax Permanent Fund that may be invested in New Mexico private equity funds.
    SB114  —  Add a $5 mediation fee to the cost of filing civil cases in magistrate courts, to fund and administer voluntary mediation programs. Effective July 1.
    SB101  —  Update the law covering professional and occupational licensing to make it clear that numerous boards are administratively attached to the Regulation and Licensing Department and do not have independent authority to hire or fire. Effective July 1.
    SB453  —   Make changes in the Dental Health Care Act, including tightening requirements for licensure and allowing the issuance of licenses to non-dentist owners of dental practices. Effective June 20.
    SB79  —  Require dealers of trailers, towed recreational vehicles, motorcycles over 55 cubic centimeters, and boats, to be licensed by the Motor Vehicle Division. Effective June 20.
    SB339  —  Clarify that domestic violence offenses are criminal offenses under the Victims of Crime Act, ensuring that domestic violence victims would be notified when offenders are going before the parole board, are released on parole, or escape. Effective July 1.
    SB503  —  Allow state legislators to be covered under the health insurance benefits package administered by the General Services Department's Risk Management Division if they pay 100 percent of the cost of the insurance. Effective July 1.
    SB524  —  Revise reimbursement criteria for hospitals that provide health care to indigents. Effective June 20.
    SB602  —   Allow the Taxation and Revenue Department to enter into joint tax administration agreements with all 19 pueblos, the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Mescalero Apache Tribe. Effective July 1.
    SB658  —  Change the nonforfeiture interest rate on deferred annuities, incorporating an interest rate index approach. Effective July 1.
    SB464  —  Allow rural electric cooperatives to invest 20 percent of their assets in subsidiaries that provide services and products related to energy, telecommunications and communications   —   including cable and satellite television   —   and water and wastewater collection and treatment. Effective July 1.
    SB792  —  Authorize Albuquerque to impose a fee for the next ten years on the use of tourist accommodations   —   including hotels, motels and trailer courts   —   in the amount of 1 percent of the gross rent, with half the proceeds to be used for convention center improvements and the remainder for advertising. Effective June 20.
    SB378  —  Significantly reduce the cost of buying a year of service credit under the state legislator coverage plan; amend the Public Employees Retirement Act to allow PERA members to buy one year of service credit. Effective June 20.