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February 11, 2016

Legislature roundup Feb. 10Las Cruces Sun News

Marijuana amendment: A proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for recreational use squeaked out of a Senate committee Wednesday. The Senate Rules Committee voted 6-4 to pass Senate Joint Resolution 5 to its next committee without any recommendation. An initial vote on whether to endorse the measure deadlocked in a 5-5, party-line vote. But on the vote to advance the bill without recommendation, Republican Sen. Ted Barela of Estancia voted with the Democrats. - - 2/11/16

'Right to work': The Senate Public Affairs Committee, voting along straight party lines late Tuesday, effectively killed the only so-called "right-to-work" bill. Senate Bill 269, sponsored by Moores, would have prohibited collecting mandatory fees from a worker who chooses not to belong to a union. - - 2/11/16

February 10, 2016

Legislature roundup Feb. 10Las Cruces Sun News

Worker benefits: Local governments no longer would be able to mandate that businesses provide sick leave, family leave or fringe benefits for workers under a bill that cleared the House Business and Employment Committee on Tuesday. House Bill 211, sponsored by Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, and Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, originally would have taken away the ability of local governments to establish their own minimum wage. - - 2/10/2016

Bipartisan gun bill: A Senate committee's action Tuesday drew praise from a former astronaut who now is a spokesman for a national gun-control group. Mark Kelly, who with his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, applauded the Senate Public Affairs Committee for unanimously recommending passage of Senate Bill 331. Supporters say the measure would close loopholes in New Mexico law by requiring the state's courts to report relevant mental health records to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System. - - 2/10/2016

Abortion bill: It looks like a House panel will get to vote again on a bill to increase state oversight of abortion providers. The House Health Committee last week voted 6-4 to table HB 275, sponsored by Rep. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington. Republican Rep. Andy Nuñez of Hatch voted with five Democrats to table the bill. - - 2/10/2016

McCamley tax bill killed in committeeLas Cruces Sun News

Legislation by Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces, that would have provided a tax credit for low-income families while also repealing the capital gains tax deduction was defeated late last week on a 6-5 party-line vote in the House Ways and Means Committee. House Bill 79 would have increased the state’s Working Families Tax Credit from 10 percent of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to 20 percent. - - 2/10/2016

February 8, 2016

Legislative Roundup 2/6/2016Las Cruces Sun News

Qualified sheriffs: County sheriffs in New Mexico would have to have a minimum of seven years of law enforcement experience if a bill introduced by Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, becomes law. Senate Bill 203 also would require that sheriffs be at least 21 years old, be a resident of the county and not be a convicted felon. Anyone who had been recalled from a public office also would not be qualified. – 2/8/2016

Lobbyist disclosure: Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, has been trying for two years to pass a bill to require legislative lobbyists to disclose more information about themselves. On Saturday, the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee voted to move his House Bill 137 onto its next committee with no recommendation. This bill, one of three lobbyist bills sponsored by Steinborn this year, would require lobbyists to list each legislator who receives a gift, meal or other expenditure from them. – 2/8/2016

Anti-abortion bill defeated:The House Health Committee voted 6-4 Saturday to block Bill 275 that would have required state workers to inspect abortion clinics to determine if infants "born alive" after abortion attempts were then being killed by medical professionals. – 2/8/2016

Brittany Alert: The Senate on Friday unanimously passed a bill that would create a law enforcement notification system for when someone with severe physical, mental or developmental disabilities is reported missing. Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, said SB 21 is named for Brittany Redford-Gonzales -- a developmentally disabled 25-year-old Edgewood woman with the intellectual capacity of an 11-year-old who went missing for 18 days. She was 200 miles from home with an ex-boyfriend when authorities discovered her location. Police couldn't issue an Amber Alert because Redford-Gonzales was too old. – 2/8/2016

February 9, 2016

Legislature roundup: Feb. 9Las Cruces Sun News

Second-degree murder: People convicted of second-degree murder will face more time in prison if the Legislature approves a bill unanimously recommended Monday by the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 228, sponsored by Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, D-Albuquerque, would increase the sentence to 18 years in prison from 15 years. It also would increase the penalty for voluntary manslaughter to nine years from six years. – 2/9/2016

Uber vote: The House on Wednesday passed a bill to clarify regulations for smart-phone-based ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. It was a lopsided, bipartisan vote of 58 to 8.

House Bill 168 sponsor Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque, said the state needs to modernize its laws and argued that such ride businesses can "keep our roads safe by giving people an alternative to getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. – 2/9/2016

Solar bills: House Memorial 51, which called for research on the impact of adding solar energy to state buildings, died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources committee Monday on a tied party-line vote. House Bill 256, which proposes consumer protections regarding the lease or purchase of solar power, will likely considered during Wednesday's committee hearing. However, House Bill 289, which seeks to revise existing regulations for geothermal production, under a law dating from 1973, moved forward despite objections that the bill includes limited provision for public hearings. – 2/9/2016


Teenage voters: Seventeen-year-olds who turn 18 by the November general election would be able to vote in the June Democratic or Republican primary under a bill passed Monday by the House. House Bill 138, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, passed by a bipartisan 41-26 vote. – 2/9/2016

February 4, 2016

Legislative RoundupLas Cruces Sun News

Hemp Bills:

Legislators in both parties were excited last year about a bill they overwhelmingly approved to authorize research of industrial hemp. They said it eventually would invigorate farms and commercial businesses. But Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed the hemp bill of 2015, and she has not authorized similar measures for consideration in this year's short legislative session.

Rep. Bealquin "Bill" Gomez, D-La Mesa sponsoring HB 148, and Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque sponsoring SB 3, say they are frustrated that the hemp bills they filed this year are going nowhere. – 2/4/2016

Voter ID:

            Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, is running for secretary of state, and now she is co-sponsoring a bill to require most people to have photo identification to vote in person. Exceptions would exist for members of tribes and pueblos. Espinoza and Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, introduced HB 312 legislation Tuesday. – 2/4/2016

Teacher pay:

The Senate Education Committee gave a do-pass to an amended bill sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, that would provide a one-time $2,000 starting salary for teachers and principals. Senate Bill 14 initially was intended to phase in salary increases over several years, but Stewart told the committee she changed that plan due to the economic realities facing New Mexico. "Everybody in the state is going to have to tighten their belts and this [amendment] reflects that austerity," Stewart told the committee. – 2/4/2016


Senate Bill 114 sponsored by Sen. Ron Griggs, R-Alamogordo, that would create adjunct teaching licenses so experts can teach part-time in grades 7-12 passed the Senate Education Committee by a 5-4 vote. Griggs says his bill would alleviate teacher shortages while giving students the benefit of learning from business and industry experts. – 2/4/2016