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March 13, 2017

G.O.P. Health Law Insures Fewer People, Nonpartisan Review Shows -- New York Times

The House Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would raise the number of people without health insurance by 24 million within a decade, but would trim $337 billion from the federal deficit over that time, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday. -- 3/13/2017

 

Proposal to take more for early ed clears House - Las Cruces Sun News

HJR 1, a proposal that would allow the state to draw a greater amount from New Mexico’s land grant permanent fund to pay for early childhood education cleared the House of Representatives on a 37-32 vote Wednesday night. The constitutional amendment now heads to the Senate with just over a week to go in the session. -- 3/13/2017

 

Senate passes $1.50-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes- Las Cruces Sun News

Smokers in New Mexico would pay an additional $1.50 a pack in taxes under a bill passed by the Senate on a 24-16 vote Wednesday. Senate Bill 231 also would increase the taxes on cigars and would include e-cigarettes in the tobacco tax for the first time. Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, said the bill would benefit the state by both raising new revenue for schools and reducing the number of smokers, thereby improving the health of New Mexicans and reducing health care costs to the state. -- 3/13/2017

 

Senate passes bill to increase funding for public schools- Las Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico Senate today passed legislation by a vote of 24 to 16 to provide public schools a needed funding increase of $89 million per year by increasing the state’s cigarette tax by $1.50.  SB 231, would direct the new revenues to strengthen New Mexico’s K-12 classrooms, which have been hit with cuts worth tens of millions of dollars. The new revenues are needed to prevent looming cuts of 5% to 7% across the board to K-12 classrooms and higher education institutions without any new revenues. -- 3/13/2017

 

Gun bills get traction in open-carry New Mexico CapitolLas Cruces Sun News

Gun regulations in New Mexico such as: SB 259 and  SB 283 may soon be rewritten in ways designed to avoid shootings in domestic violence disputes and to end free-wheeling firearm rules at the state Capitol. Other bills like: HB 50 would place new restrictions on the sale and possession of firearms are inching their way through the Democratic-controlled Legislature as lawmakers near adjournment March 18. -- 3/13/2017

 

New Mexico lawmakers reject higher renewable power mandate - Las Cruces Sun News

A proposal to ramp up renewable energy requirements at New Mexico's investor owned utilities and cooperatives through the year 2040 has been voted down by a Senate committee on SB 312, ending chances for approval this year. The Senate Corporations Committee voted 5-3 Friday against a plan to gradually increase the share of electricity generated from solar, wind and other renewable sources to 80 percent of supplies for utilities. -- 3/13/2017

March 9, 2017

Sen. Morales' bill to combat car theft passes key committeeLas Cruces Sun News

Senator Howie Morales (D-28 Catron, Grants, Socorro) Wednesday passed legislation with bipartisan support through Senate Judiciary Committee to combat car theft in New Mexico. Albuquerque is experiencing the worst car theft numbers in the nation. Senate Bill 139 will enable a partnership between businesses and police to quickly identify stolen cars when they are sold to salvage and recycling centers and find the criminals responsible. -- 3/9/2017

 

Senate passes $1.50-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes - Las Cruces Sun News

Smokers in New Mexico would pay an additional $1.50 a pack in taxes under a bill passed by the Senate on a 24-16 vote Wednesday. Senate Bill 231 also would increase the taxes on cigars and would include e-cigarettes in the tobacco tax for the first time. Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, said the bill would benefit the state by both raising new revenue for schools and reducing the number of smokers, thereby improving the health of New Mexicans and reducing health care costs to the state. -- 3/9/2017

 

New Mexico governor approves broadband expansion bills - Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has signed two bills, HB 60 and HB 113 designed to extend high-speed internet access to the farthest reaches of the state. One bill signed into law Wednesday by the governor creates a "dig once" policy that ensures broadband conduit can be inserted underground any time trenches are dug to access utility lines. -- 3/9/2017

March 7, 2017

Bill to protect teacher absences on to governorLas Cruces Sun News

Legislation to protect teachers from being penalized for using their sick leave days is now on its way to the desk of Gov. Susana Martinez. HB 241, known as the “Teachers Are Human Too” bill, passed unanimously in the Senate after originally clearing the House on a 64-3 vote. The bill will add language to the School Personnel Act that would prevent teacher sick or personal leave days from negatively affecting their annual performance evaluations. -- 3/7/2017

 

Ethics commission proposal advances in New MexicoLas Cruces Sun News

A proposed constitutional amendment HJR 8, to create an independent ethics commission in New Mexico picked up endorsements from top legislative leaders on Monday as it moves toward the House floor for a vote. Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf promised to expedite a House vote to ensure time for Senate consideration before the Legislature adjourns March 18, as the House Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed the plan. -- 3/7/2017

 

Local lawmakers seek to aid outdoor recreationLas Cruces Sun News

Legislators Rep. Nathan Small and Sen. Jeff Steinborn are part of a bipartisan effort to create a new state office dedicated to outdoor recreation. Small, D-Las Cruces, is joining with Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, in sponsoring House Memorial 91; and Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, is joining with Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, in sponsoring Senate Memorial 130. Both measures call for a study regarding a new Office of Outdoor Recreation. -- 3/7/2017

 

Abortion restriction bills fall in committee – Las Cruces Sun News

Two bills that would have placed additional restrictions or qualifications on abortions were both killed Sunday in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, according to a press release from House Democrats. House Bill 220 would have prohibited abortions following the 20th week of pregnancy. House Bill 221 would have required a parent or legal guardian to be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a minor age 17 or younger. An exception would have been granted in cases of rape or incest, or if notification would have endangered the life or health of the mother. -- 3/7/2017

March 8, 2017

House passes measure to reinstate solar tax creditLas Cruces Sun News

A bipartisan measure that would reinstate a tax credit aimed at boosting roof-top solar installations in New Mexico has cleared one legislative chamber. The House voted 36-31 Monday evening in favor of the HB 61, which would renew the state's solar market development tax credit for another eight years. It would set a cap of $5 million for solar thermal and solar photovoltaic systems. -- 3/8/2017

 

A hot race: NM works to beat out Colo. for 'chile' license plate -- Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico legislators are racing against time — and Colorado — to have the first specialty license plate featuring chiles. House Bill 393 was amended to include an emergency clause to ensure that the plates are available to New Mexicans before being produced in neighboring Colorado. An emergency clause means that the bill will become effective immediately after it is signed by Gov. Susana Martinez. - - 3/8/17

 

NM lawmakers debate naming ‘official state dance’Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico Senate Democrats are debating SB 449 to name an official state dance despite a deadline to pass more pressing bills. The Democratic-controlled Senate Rules Committee on Monday approved a measure to identify “La Marcha de los Novios” as the state’s official dance number. - - 3/8/17

 

Raising cigarette taxes will help classroomsLas Cruces Sun News

New Mexico has a unique opportunity to accomplish two important goals for our state by simply raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. First, we can substantially strengthen our children’s classrooms, which have been hit with cuts worth tens of millions of dollars since 2008. Second, we can make sure that more than 11,000 additional kids never even become smokers, and more than 10,000 current adult smokers will quit, significantly lowering overall health costs. Senate Bill 231, would increase the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack, with an equivalent increase in other tobacco products including e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco. The tax on a pack of cigarettes would increase from $1.66 to $3.16. It will produce new revenues of $89 million annually for our state. -- 3/8/2017

March 6, 2017

New Mexico lawmakers push for rural broadband expansionLas Cruces Sun News

Legislation designed to expand broadband internet access to the farthest reaches of New Mexico was sent to the governor for consideration on Friday. The state Senate approved a trio of bills including SB 308 designed to accelerate expansion of broadband infrastructure. One bill sent to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez would ensure an opportunity to insert broadband conduit underground any time trenches are dug to access utility lines. -- 3/6/2017

 

Democrats push assisted suicide proposal in New MexicoLas Cruces Sun News

Democrats are pushing a proposal that would allow terminally ill patients in New Mexico to end their lives with help from doctors regarding SB 252. The measure — opposed the Catholic Church and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez — would prevent New Mexico doctors from facing prosecution in such cases. In June, the New Mexico Supreme Court refused to overturn the state's existing assisted suicide law, meaning that aiding such deaths remains a fourth-degree felony. -- 3/6/2017

 

Senate approves New Mexico bill on guns, domestic violenceLas Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico Senate has approved Senate Bill 259 to require people involved in domestic violence situations to surrender their guns and prohibit them from buying guns while a protective order is in effect. The Senate's 25-15 vote Saturday sends the bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces to the House for consideration. -- 3/6/2017

 

New Mexico House OKs minimum wage hike to $9.25Las Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico House of Representatives has endorsed a proposal to increase the statewide minimum wage to $9.25 an hour from $7.50. The House endorsed the increase on Friday, days after the Senate voted for SB 36 to raise the base wage to $9. The Legislature has until the end of the session on March 18 to come up with a compromise. -- 3/6/2017

 

Realtors closely watching legislative activitiesLas Cruces Sun News

The Realtors Association of New Mexico has its collective eye focused on upwards of 140 bills that are winding their way through the current legislative session in Santa Fe.

Among the bills on the association’s radar is SB387, which would increase the number of years of experience required to become a Qualifying Broker from two to four and imposes additional education requirements on applicants.

 SB244 and HB374, which amend disclosure requirements, provide alternative dispute resolution methods, and cap fees that HOAs may charge for issuing financial disclosure documents to prospective purchasers.

SB343 Provisions include reducing the corporate income tax, increasing tax credits for working families, reinstating gross receipts taxes on food and healthcare practitioner services, and instituting a transfer tax on the sale of real property.

Senate Bill 125 would exempt auctioneers who auction real property from working under the control of a licensed real estate broker, eliminating the need for auctioneers to be licensed brokers.

House Bill 199 and Senate Bill 210 provide for additional disclosures to property owners who purchase or finance solar panels.

HB146, will makes it a crime to exploit vulnerable adults by misappropriating, misusing, transferring or selling their property.

HB205 alters building code rules to allow occupancy of vacant commercial buildings by small businesses, reduces compliance costs, encourages rural economic development, and prohibits municipalities from enacting contrary ordinances.

HB362, would require the licensing of home inspectors. New Mexico is one of only 11 states that do not license home inspectors, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors. -- 3/6/2017

 

Abortion restriction bills fall in committeeLas Cruces Sun News

Two bills that would have placed additional restrictions or qualifications on abortions were both killed Sunday in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, according to a press release from House Democrats. House Bill 220 would have prohibited abortions following the 20th week of pregnancy. House Bill 221 would have required a parent or legal guardian to be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a minor age 17 or younger. An exception would have been granted in cases of rape or incest, or if notification would have endangered the life or health of the mother. -- 3/6/2017

 

Latest try to bring back death penalty stallsLas Cruces Sun News

The latest effort to revive the death penalty in New Mexico (HB 7) was tabled Sunday in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee on a 3-2 vote. The New Mexico Legislature abolished the death penalty in 2009. -- 3/6/2017