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March 1, 2016

Martinez signs spending bill for next budget year -- Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Susana Martinez signed off Monday on a $6.2 billion spending plan for the coming budget year that relies on one-time fixes, such as diverting money from government accounts and drawing down the state’s cash reserves, to avoid steep budget cuts.

But even with the budgetary tourniquets, overall New Mexico state spending is set to decrease next year for the first time in five years as plummeting oil and natural gas prices take their toll on the state’s economy. -- 2/29/206

February 29, 2016

Some legislative goals achieved despite budget shortfallLas Cruces Sun News

Workers Compensation:

 Senate Bill 214, sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria, an Albuquerque Democrat, provides for a percentage reduction in indemnity benefits when a worker’s intoxication contributes to his or her work­ related injury. After five years of efforts, Senate Bill 214 passed this year with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate (38­1) and the House (66­1). This aligns 
New Mexico with 40 other states that have similar statutes and helps assure safe workplace environments. - - 2/29/16

Agriculture:

Senate Bill 72 amends the law to protect established farm operations from nuisance claims. A claim may not be brought by a person if there is a purchase, lease, or rental of property near an existing agricultural operation or facility unless the farm substantially changes its operation. ​The Senate and House worked in bipartisan fashion to pass this bill, sponsored by Senator Stuart Ingle, a Portales Republican, through both chambers. The legislation updates the New Mexico Right to Farm Act to provide protection to modern food production and agricultural operations to ensure the availability of a safe, abundant, and cost ­effective food supply. - - 2/29/16

REAL ID​:

On Jan. 10, the federal government deemed New Mexico to be out of compliance with the Federal REAL ID Act. This meant that the thousands of small businesses and jobs that depend on reliable access to federal facilities were potentially put at risk. The Senate, House and the Governor’s Office worked together diligently to ensure that legislation was passed this year that would bring New Mexico into compliance with the REAL ID Act. House Bill 99, co­sponsored by Paul Pacheco, an Albuquerque Republican, and Andy Nunez a Republican from ­Hatch, passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support. - - 2/29/16

February 19, 2016

Legislative Roundup: 2/19Las Cruces Sun News

Airline subsidy:

A bill that would allow cities and counties to use lodgers' tax revenue to guarantee commercial airlines a minimum amount of revenue is headed to the desk of Gov. Susana Martinez for her consideration. The Roswell delegation pushed House Bill 192 because that city hopes to add a flight by American Eagle, a regional carrier of American Airlines. Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, said the guarantee will be a means of increasing tourism. - - 2/19/16

Overdose reversals:

A change in state law that would allow better distribution for an overdose reversal drug known as Narcan passed the Legislature late Wednesday night. HB 277 was sponsored by both Republican Rep. Terry H. McMillan, a Las Cruces physician, and Sen. Richard C. Martinez, a Democrat from Española who is a retired magistrate judge. - - 2/19/16

Rapid workforce:

Sen. Ted Barela, R Estancia, passed his first bill through the Legislature in the final hours with House approval of SB 92, a new initiative to speed job training for industries with hard-to-recruit workers. The measure has support from the governor, who mentioned the effort in her State of the State speech. Barela was appointed by the governor to fill the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Phil Griego, a Democrat who resigned amid an ethics controversy. - - 2/19/16

Closing fees:

An effort by Rep. Monica Youngblood, R- Albuquerque, to put a $150 cap on the fee that a homeowners' association in HB 129 can charge for documents required in a property closing passed the House, but died before getting a final vote on the Senate floor. Youngblood, a real-estate agent, said many private management companies have been charging $500 or more for the information, which is required under a state law passed in 2010. - - 2/19/16

February 24, 2016

Reports: Lobbyists spent about $237,000 during sessionLas Cruces Sun News

Lobbyists and their employers spent $236,828 on gifts, wining and dining for elected officials, their guests and staff during the 2016 legislative session. We'll know more about how entertained lawmakers were during the 30-day session when lobbyists and employers make their full reports on May 1. If Gov. Susana Martinez signs House Bill 105, lobbyists will have to file reports again in October. Right now lobbyists file full reports only in January and May. - - 2/24/16

 

Monumental? La Bajada Mesa could be next for national monument status -- Santa Fe Reporter

With only 11 months left to go in President Barack Obama’s presidency, a host of preservationists and at least a pair of Santa Fe County Commissioners are hoping La Bajada Mesa, with its beautiful vistas and vast open space, will become a national monument—joining other greats in the state like the Aztec Ruins outside of Aztec, the Cliff Dwellings near Silver City, and Bandelier, just outside Los Alamos.

Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who created the Antiquities Act, the designation of national monuments have all but petrified the legacies of more than a few presidents. Not to be undone or considered any sort of exception, Obama has already signed off on more than a dozen, with three just last week in California’s desert area, and he’s closing in on Bill Clinton’s record-setting 19.

Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who created the Antiquities Act, the designation of national monuments have all but petrified the legacies of more than a few presidents. Not to be undone or considered any sort of exception, Obama has already signed off on more than a dozen, with three just last week in California’s desert area, and he’s closing in on Bill Clinton’s record-setting 19. - See more at: http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-11594-monumental.html#sthash.Qyb3zQbY.dpuf
Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who created the Antiquities Act, the designation of national monuments have all but petrified the legacies of more than a few presidents. Not to be undone or considered any sort of exception, Obama has already signed off on more than a dozen, with three just last week in California’s desert area, and he’s closing in on Bill Clinton’s record-setting 19. - See more at: http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-11594-monumental.html#sthash.UciudQCt.dpuf
Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who created the Antiquities Act, the designation of national monuments have all but petrified the legacies of more than a few presidents. Not to be undone or considered any sort of exception, Obama has already signed off on more than a dozen, with three just last week in California’s desert area, and he’s closing in on Bill Clinton’s record-setting 19. - See more at: http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-11594-monumental.html#sthash.UciudQCt.dpuf

-- 2/17/2016

February 18, 2016

House panel kills bill to shore up lottery fundLas Cruces Sun News

The House Ways and Means Committee has killed a bill that would have required the New Mexico Lottery to provide $41 million a year to a stagnant fund for college scholarships. The committee voted 8-5 against Senate Bill 180 on Wednesday, with two Democratic lawmakers joining Republicans in voting against the bill and one Republican crossing party lines to vote for it. Their action effectively leaves the struggling scholarship program without any means to shore it up until next year's legislative session. - - 2/18/16

Bill to let 17-year-olds vote in primaries OKedLas Cruces Sun News

Certain 17-year-olds would be able to vote in primary elections under HB 138 now on its way to Gov. Susana Martinez. The measure would allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary if they will turn 18 before the general election. Senators voted for the measure 24-16. House members approved it 10 days ago in a 41-26 vote. - - 2/18/16

Legislature roundup Feb. 17Las Cruces Sun News

Industrial batteries:

The full Legislature has approved SB 76 that adds lead-acid batteries to the scrap metals that are tracked under a state law aimed at catching thieves. "Industrial batteries on bulldozers and other large equipment can weigh 100 pounds and bring in a quick $100 for drug addicts who steal them and sell them to battery shops and recycling centers," said Sen. Steve Neville, R-Aztec, the bill sponsor. - - 2/18/16

Share the road:

The Senate approved Senate Bill 270 Wednesday allowing all-terrain vehicles and off-highway vehicles to drive on paved roads at speeds up to 55 mph unless prohibited by local authorities. The bill, approved in a vote of 34-7, was sent to the House of Representatives with less than a day left in the legislative session. - - 2/18/16

More School:

Senate Bill 81, introduced by Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park, won support from both Republican and Democrat lawmakers who said the extra classroom time should pay off in higher academic achievement levels for students. Schools would have to apply quickly for the program and would be notified by April 15. The bill next goes to the House of Representatives. - - 2/18/16

Brain Injury:

The Senate unanimously approved a SB 180 to amend the state law on care of youth league and high school athletes who receive brain injuries. Players would be required to sit out at least 10 days after being diagnosed with a concussion. Current law requires seven days. - - 2/18/16