The 60 day session saw over 1,300 bills introduced in the House and Senate! Below is a list of just a handful of good, progressive pieces of legislation that passed through both chambers and are currently on the Governor's desk. You can see the list of legislation she has already signed HERE.
For more information on how the session played out, key legislators who helped forward or roll back good pieces of legislation, check out Retake Our Democracy's website.
- SB288 - SAFE SCHOOLS FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT: Safe Schools for All Students Act would require current bullying prevention policy in New Mexico School Code be updated to include protection of sexual orientation and gender identity, improved reporting procedures, and use of uniform definitions. This will help ensure safe, supportive learning environments for all New Mexico's students! (Source: EQNM)
- HB5 - PUBLIC EDUCATION CHANGES: Bill drops the state’s A-F system of grading schools.
- SB2 - EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION & CARE DEPT BILL
Indigenous Rights ✔
- HB100 - RENAMING COLUMBUS DAY TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S DAY
HB278 - MISSING & MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN: Establishes a task force to help address of the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Worker's Rights ✔
SB437 - RAISE MINIMUM WAGE & CREATE SEPARATE ONE: Minimum Wage Increase bill passed to bring New Mexico's minimum wage to $12.00/hour by 2023. There was a stronger minimum wage bill introduced by Representative Miguel Garcia, however, that bill (HB46) was not pushed through in the Senate.
- SB85 - DOMESTIC SERVICE IN MINIMUM WAGE ACT: Would add domestic and home care workers for protection under NM's wage and labor laws. They were previously exempted from these laws.
- HB2 - GENERAL APPROPRIATION ACT OF 2019: Contains funding for the Dept of Workforce Solution to hire 3 additional wage theft investigators. (Source: Somos Un Pueblo Unido)
Voter's Rights ✔
- SB672 - PUBLIC PEACE, HEALTH, SAFETY & WELFARE and EARLY & AUTO VOTER REGISTRATION: Essentially Automatic & Same Day Voter Registration will ensure, beginning in 2021, New Mexicans will be automatically registered to vote and can register or update their registration up to and including voting day, removing some of the barriers there are to cast a ballot in NM.
- HB55 - AGREEMENT TO ELECT PRESIDENT BY POPULAR VOTE: NM joins the national compact with a goal to elect the president by popular vote. For the Electoral College to be junked, states with a collective total of 270 electoral votes would have to join the movement. Our state contributes five electoral votes to that goal.
LGBTQ+ Rights & Civil Rights ✔
- HB388 - GENDER-FREE RESTROOMS: This bill require single-occupant restrooms in New Mexico's public places have gender-neutral signage. This means NM's bathrooms will be safer and more inclusive for people with disabilities, families, and our LGBTQ+ community. (Source: EQNM)
- SB227 - ADDITIONAL UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION PRACTICES: This bill updates the Human Rights Act to ensure that no business can discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace (Source: EQNM)
- SB20 - SEX DESIGNATION ON VITAL RECORDS: New Mexico residents will be able to correct sex designation on their birth certificates and other vital records without having to undergo expensive, invasive, unnecessary, and discriminatory surgery. The bill allows for the designation of M, F, and X. (Source: EQNM)
- HB135 - SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR'S BILL OF RIGHTS
- HB89 - HEALTH COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION: This bill expands access to coverage for both men and women without cost sharing for vasectomies and external condoms, over the counter contraception, and allows for the dispensation of six months worth of contraceptives at once. This bill expands the rights of New Mexicans to make their own personal healthcare decisions on their own terms.
- HB204 - HEALTHY SOIL ACT: Promotes soil health stewardship by creating a program to provide ongoing trainings and facilitate workshops, grants, and educating the public about the importance of soil health stewardship.
HB291 - EFFICIENT USE OF ENERGY ACT CHANGES: Removes disincentives for utilities to invest in energy efficiency, the cheapest and most effective way to reduce our climate impact. It requires utilities to carry out programs that benefit rate payers like home energy audits, etc.
HB651 - WATER DATA ACT: Improves water-data integration, transparency, and tools for state water planning. Allows state agencies to collaborate on water data.
SB462 - CREATE OUTDOOR RECREATION DIVISION: Creates an Office of Outdoor Recreation and Outdoor Equity Fund. This bill creates an infrastructure and plans for getting all NM kids outside.
SB228 - WILDLIFE CORRIDORS ACT: Calls for state agencies to create a plan to identify and maintain areas important for wildlife movement, especially concerning risky highway crossings and dangerous road segments.
- HB440 - SOLAR ENERGY IMPROVEMENT ASSESSMENTS: Improves the framework for counties and cities to work together in order to pay the upfront costs of for solar for individuals, which is then paid back through property tax assessments.
HB521 - PRC APPLICATION FOR VEHICLE ELECTRICITY: This clears the way for companies to install EV-charging stations and requires investor-owned utilities to develop transportation electrification plans. That will increase access to EV charging infrastructure in the state, a critical step in accelerating adoption of electric vehicles.
SB553 - OIL CONSERVATION COMMISSION FEES: This establishes rules to create a new schedule of administrative filing fees, application fees, and permit fees, helping to increase badly needed funding to the Oil Conservation Division, which regulates oil and gas drilling in New Mexico.
SB76 - PROHIBIT COYOTE KILLING CONTESTS: Ends coyote killing contests that award prizes for participants who kill the most, the largest and, often, the smallest coyotes.
Criminal Justice Reform ✔
- SB536 - SUPPLEMENTAL SPENDING BILL: Includes $664,000 for LEAD in four NM jurisdictions (Santa Fe, Doña Ana, Rio Arriba and Bernalillo Counties) (Source: Drug Policy Alliance)
- SB32 - DRUG POSSESSION AS A MISDEMEANOR: Decriminalizes ½ ounce or less of marijuana and decriminalizes all drug paraphernalia.
- HB342 - OMNIBUS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: Comprehensive reform bill focusing on accountability and treatment to both prevent crime and successfully reintegrate criminal actors back into society. Creates a behavioral health framework to assist incarcerated juveniles and adults with the transition back into the community; prohibits the arrest of anyone receiving treatment for a drug or alcohol overdose; and extends the Good Samaritan law to those who report overdoses and much more. (Source: NMSAFE)
- HB 364 - SOLITARY CONFINEMENT REFORM: Bans the use of restricted housing on children and pregnant women. Restricts the use of solitary confinement on people with a serious mental illness. Requires all detention facilities in New Mexico to report on their use of solitary confinement. New Mexico still has one of the highest rates of solitary confinement in the nation.
- HB370 - EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORD: Passing expungement reform is a smart solution for public safety. Removing barriers to good jobs, safe housing, and education for the thousands of New Mexicans living with a prior arrest or conviction record will provide people with the opportunities they need to move on with their lives. (Source: NMSAFE)
- SB96 - CONVICTION INFO ON JOB APPLICATIONS (Ban the Box): Prohibits private employers that use a written employment application from inquiring into the applicant’s conviction history on the initial job application but does not prohibit an employer from screening an applicant’s criminal history later in the application process. Viewing a job applicant with a record as more than just a checked box is critical to leveling the playing field for the 70 million Americans with an arrest or conviction history. (Source: NMSAFE)
- SB385 - OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING FOR PEOPLE WITH FELONIES: Amends the Uniform Licensing Act to prohibit denial of professional licensure to an otherwise qualified individual on the sole basis of a previous felony conviction unless the conviction was for a crime related to the profession for which licensure is sought. (Source: Drug Policy Alliance)
- HB267 - OMNIBUS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM (Task Force Recommendations): Bill would codify the recommendations of the HJM19 Criminal Justice Task Force passed during the 2018 legislative session. (Source: NMSAFE)
- HB56 - PROSTITUTION AS A DELINQUENT ACT: Recognizes that children engaged in prostitution are commonly victims of human trafficking and provides a mechanism for such children to receive treatment and services rather than bringing them into the juvenile justice system. (Source: NMSAFE)
- HB564 - PROBATION AND PAROLE REFORM: This bill will alleviate prison overcrowding in New Mexico by reforming the use of probation and parole in our state. It will also save New Mexico money because there's no need to lock up people who don't pose a threat to public safety. (Source: NMSAFE)
- SB406 - MEDICAL CANNABIS CHANGES: Establishes civil protections for patients for schooling, child-custody, and related to medical care, including receiving an organ transplant. Protects patients who are parents from CYFD intervention solely because of Medical Cannabis Program participation; establishes employment protections for patients and prevents employers from taking adverse actions against patients for their lawful use of medical cannabis; creates a multi-year registry ID card that is good for three years; allows the Department of Health (DOH) to license onsite consumption of medical cannabis as long as the area is accessible only to patients and caregivers, is not publicly visible; updates medical qualifying conditions listed in statute to include the 15 conditions approved by the DOH since 2007; improves access for MCP patients living on NM Indian tribe, pueblo, or nation land by allowing the DOH to license personal production at alternative addresses, and ensures that the Department will annually evaluate how well the program is meeting the needs of medical cannabis patients in rural areas and on tribal land. It also permits DOH to establish licenses for any activity deemed necessary by the department and directs the agency to develop rules for licensing, and health and safety of medical cannabis products by the end of the year. (Source: Drug Policy Alliance)
- SB204 - MEDICAL CANNABIS in SCHOOLS: Allows for the possession, storage and administration of medical cannabis by authorized adults to students in a school setting. (Source: Drug Policy Alliance)
- SB221 - OPOID OVERDOSE PATIENT COUNSELING: Requires health care providers under certain circumstances to advise patients on the risks of overdose and about naloxone. A health care provider who prescribes pain medication for a patient shall co-prescribe naloxone if the pain medication prescribed is at least a five-day supply. (Source: Drug Policy Alliance)
- SB278 - DRIVER'S LICENSE CHANGES: This bill will make it easier to for all New Mexicans to get the authorization they need to drive. SB278 will do away with unnecessary requirements that have burdened New Mexicans for far too long.
- SB8 - FIREARM SALE BACKGROUND CHECK: Expands background checks on gun sales. Already signed into law by Governor Lujan Grisham.
- HB150 - INSTALLMENT & SMALL LOAN CHANGES: Cleans up loopholes in state law by mandating effective data reporting to the state and providing consistency so all New Mexico families can receive fairer loans. (Source: NM Center on Law & Poverty)
- HB657 - ABQ AFFORDABLE HOUSING STUDY: The bill will grant $150,000 for an affordable housing study in an effort to study the effects of homelessness on the Albuquerque population.
- SB328 - ORDERS OF PROTECTION & FIREARM OWNERSHIP: Bill will prohibit individuals subject to a protection order in a domestic abuse case from possessing a firearm.
Below, we have listed bills that have passed that we consider failures. Of course, this isn't a done deal until Governor Lujan Grisham signs the bills. She has until April 5 to act on all bills. You can contact her office via phone (505) 476-2200 or email here.
PROBLEMATIC BILLS PASSED:
HB546 - PRODUCED WATER & OCD FINES: This bill would open the door to using fracking waste in rivers, streams, and crops. Produced water is "recycled" fracking water and would allow industry to sell the water they have contaminated with fracking chemicals for agriculture. The bill also allows Oil Conservation Division to fine operators for violating laws and safety regulations. The bill also reduces fines and the cap on fines.
SB489 - ENERGY TRANSITION ACT:
While there are some positive aspects of this bill -- namely that it creates a Carbon-Free Energy Standard in New Mexico that increases the renewable portfolio requirements to 80% by 2040 for the investor-owned utilities and 80% by 2050 for the cooperative co-ops and that it acknowledged the impact of transition on local communities and attempted to soften the blow by providing transition funds and worker retraining. Most of these funds will be allocated to the Economic Development and Workforce development departments but a smaller percentage of funds were designated for the Department of Indian Affairs as a result of the Grassroots Indigenous Leaders Network organizing in opposition to the bill pointing out, among other things, the lack of consultation with impacted indigenous communities who have borne the brunt of health, economic, and opportunity costs from the plant for the last 40 plus years. Senator Bennie Shendo from Jemez Pueblo introduced amendments to include the Department of Indian Affairs.
The weaknesses, in a nutshell - have to do with the fact that it reinforces and strengthens utility control over our energy future, reduces the oversight and authority of our regulatory agency through concessions made to the utilities in the process, the process itself, in terms of inclusion - especially consultation with impacted indigenous communities, and the incredible missed opportunity it represents.
Specific problems with the bill include:
$1.3 Billion from PNM ratepayers in a “non-bypassable” charge on our monthly bill for 25 years. NM Legislature's own financial report states that traditional regulatory resolution would be cheaper for ratepayers. Demonstrable evidence points to a $400M premium with SB489 compared to traditional PRC ratemaking. PNM’s making an end run around the regulatory agency to the legislature.
- PNM to recover money from ratepayers to cover hundreds of millions of dollars in costs associated the Four Corners [coal-fired] Power Plant and San Juan Generating Station without any PRC review. (“no order of the commission shall disallow recovery of any undepreciated investment or decommissioning costs”, SB 489, p. 82)
No corporate accountability for “imprudent” investments
PNM ownership of replacement power through preferential location and other requirements independent power producers will be unable to meet - PNM concurs with this assessment, telling its investors that they expect to receive $450 million
"Carbon Free" rather than a true renewable portfolio standard that counts nuclear toward requirements. This is an enormous lost opportunity to catalyze and diversify New Mexico's renewable energy market. Among those expressing concern over this problem in the bill were the All Pueblo Council of Governors, the Coalition of Cities (City of Santa Fe, City of Las Cruces, City of Albuquerque), and the Grassroots Indigenous Leaders Network.
Allows monopoly utilities to count out-of-state renewable energy credits toward requirements (robbing New Mexico of renewable energy jobs)
Allows utilities to include nuclear and hydro-power as “carbon-free” energy standards
Run-around existing regulatory requirements and oversight for replacement power acquisition and treatment of stranded assets - effectively eliminating these pesky standards moving forward.
$30 million of clean up costs are covered 100% by ratepayers and not a penny from PNM
Lack of consultation and engagement with directly impacted communities (indigenous communities on the frontline of the plant's operation, local residents, local workers, low-income, middle-income, and fixed-income New Mexico residents who will be hit by the rise in rates and advocates and agencies that represent them -- including the municipalities).
A great concern with SB 489 is that the regulatory tools that we have historically counted upon to protect ourselves from rate increases, environmental damage, and other exploitative maneuvers by the big utilities have now been weakened. We are very worried that PNM will now be able to pursue the gas and nuclear investments they identified in their Integrated Resource Plan of record and also presented to their shareholders. Efforts were made to insert the regulatory standards currently on the books - "least cost among feasible alternatives", etc. and were rejected. Instead, new, weaker standards are created by the bill.
HB2 - GENERAL APPROPRIATION ACT OF 2019: This bill contains language from a bill form 2018 (HB161) which would have preempted local governments from enacting ordinances to regulate the cultivation and production of seeds. This dangerous addition grants seed regulation solely to the NM Department of Agriculture and would take away city, county, and local power to create GE (genetically engineered) Free Zones. (Source: Tewa Women United)
The fight is not over! The bills listed below did not get through the State Capitol this year, but there is hope for coming sessions even next year during the 30 day session. The Interim Session starts in July and the interim committees will be having open meetings.
FAILURES BILLS NOT PASSED
- SB405 - MEDICAID BUY-IN: Bill did not pass, however, the legislature approved funding to further study and begin development of a Medicaid Buy-in coverage option. (Source: NM Together for Healthcare)
SB159 - PROHIBIT CERTAIN LEGAL DEFENSES: This bill would have curtailed the use of the panic defense for murder or other violent crime cases in New Mexico. Under the bill, a person's sexual orientation or gender identity could not be claimed as a mitigating factor or provocation for a reduced murder charge. (Source: EQNM)
- HB51 - DECRIMINALIZATION OF ABORTION: The Senate failed to repeal an outdated and dangerous statute that criminalizes doctors who provide abortion care. Though this law is currently unenforceable, this failure to act proactively may lead to a crisis of care if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to gut Roe v. Wade.
- HB57 - RESTORE VOTING RIGHTS FOR PEOPLE WITH FELONIES: Would have restored voting rights to people with felony convictions.
- HB356 - CANNABIS REGULATION ACT: a bill that would create a system to tax and regulate cannabis for responsible recreational use by adults 21 and over.
- HJR1 - PERMANENT FUNDS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD: would have allocated 1% from the Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education after voters approve a constitutional amendment allowing for a 1 percent increase in the take from the Land Grant Permanent Fund. It would create a reliable funding stream for early education so that the state does not have to rely solely on annual revenues. (Source: Invest in Kids Now!)
- SB196 - NO RESOURCES FOR FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAW: Would have prohibited use of state and local resources for federal immigration law.
- HB141 - STATE DISCLOSURE OF SENSITIVE INFO: Would have protected every New Mexicans’ sensitive personal information.
- HB624 - IMMIGRATION DETENTION FACILITIES ACT
- HB295 - HEALTH SECURITY ACT
- HB434 - CHARTER SCHOOL AUTHORIZATION MORATORIUM: Bill would have placed a moratorium on charter school growth.
- HM73 - ENERGY EXTRACTION IMPACT ON TRIBAL PEOPLE: This memorial requested a study of the economic, health, environmental and social costs of extractive and fossil fuel impacts to the indigenous communities.
- HB28 - RESOURCE SUSTAINABILITY & SECURITY ACT: Would have required state agencies to make sustainability, energy-efficiency and climate-resiliency plans.
- SB518 - SOLAR TAX CREDITS: Would have reinstated state tax credits for those who install solar at their residences or businesses, but died on the last House floor session due to a filibuster.
- HB366 - WILDLIFE PROTECTION & PUBLIC SAFETY ACT: Bill banned cruel traps and poisons on public lands.
- SB456 - ELECTRIC UTILITY RESOURCE PROCUREMENT: Would require utilities to issue requests for proposal on all new energy sources to ensure they are providing the lowest-cost solutions for new sources of electricity.
- HB210 - COMMUNITY SOLAR ACT: Allows people who rent or can’t install solar rooftops to still buy into solar power and would make solar accessible and affordable to more New Mexicans by clearing the way for local entities to build and sell power from community solar gardens.
- SB500 - OIL, GAS & VENTED GAS ROYALTIES: This bill would bring New Mexico oil and gas royalty rates in line with neighboring states.
January 2019 - Green Fire Times
Once again, we have partnered with the Green Fire Times to curate the January issue. This year it is themed around “Seizing This Moment.” After two issues on featuring stories of community resilience in the face of adversity, it is time to shift gears as we face a year of opportunity in New Mexico. Below is every op-ed featured in January.
SEIZING THIS MOMENT:
Our Hopes for New Mexico’s Promising Future
BY Miguel Angel Acosta, Bianca Sopoci-Belknap, Nicole Jaramillo
Co-directors, Earth Care, Santa Fe, New Mexico
It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”– Assata Shakur
To kick off the new year, Earth Care is excited to partner with Green Fire Times to bring you the third annual activism-focused edition. Two years ago, we proposed partnering with GFT to elevate voices of New Mexicans working in the trenches on diverse social and environmental issues so they could share their insights about how the changing political landscape threatened their work, created new needs and opportunities, and required new levels of action, solidarity and commitment to transformative change.
Once again, we’ve invited leaders of social and environmental justice movements in New Mexico to present their perspectives. This year, however, the tone has changed. Given the amazingly strong turnout in the 2018 midterm election and the historic engagement of our brothers and sisters across the state, New Mexico’s democracy has been re-enlivened. We have an incredible opportunity to seize the moment and make impactful strides to invest deeply in our children, youth, families and communities by rectifying chronic injustices in our education system, energy system, economy and environment. New Mexicans are ready for change!
From women’s reproductive health rights to climate legislation, to immigrant rights, to sane gun laws, we’ve tapped established and emerging movement leaders to discuss their work and the actions we can all take to get involved.
Our organization has shifted a great deal over these last two years to meet the needs of our community and rise to the challenges we face as a country. Our youth and parent leaders are more active than ever on issues of equitable community development and representation, education as a force for positive social change, and climate justice.
Translating our urgent concern for our future and dreams for a better world into institution- al change requires that we get active in public-policy-making during this year’s state legisla- tive session.
WE HOPE YOU’LL JOIN US.