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A look at the New Mexico legislative session

A look at the New Mexico legislative session

The Associated Press
March 18, 2017 08:27 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A look at proposals that passed and failed during the 60-day legislative session that ended Saturday. Gov. Susana Martinez has until April 7 to act on legislation approved by lawmakers.

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BUDGET-FINANCES

Passed: Raising $350 million in new revenues from taxes and fees on gasoline and diesel sales, vehicle sales, trucking permits and nonprofit hospitals that halts reductions in corporate income taxes in an effort to stave off further budget cuts, shore up depleted state reserves and funnel money to road maintenance projects; funding of $6.1 billion for the coming fiscal year that boosts spending slightly on public schools and the judiciary and cuts funding for state colleges; maintaining spending on public safety and economic development subsidies.

Failed: Far-reaching tax reform plan designed to improve the business climate in New Mexico by sweeping away an array of tax breaks that would dramatically increase state revenues from nonprofit organizations such as hospitals and health clinics; increasing taxes on tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes to boost educational funding; restoring taxes on food to offset declining state and local revenues from traditional sources; hiking taxes on junk food.

EDUCATION:

Passed: Limiting the use of restraint and seclusion in schools; reducing the probationary period for non-licensed school employees and licensed educational assistants to one year; requiring statewide rules to prevent bullying in public schools; providing a 16-month grace period for students to qualify for a legislative lottery tuition scholarship.

Failed: Expanding early childhood education by tapping into the permanent land fund; allowing teachers to take more than three days of annual sick leave without being hurt on performance evaluations; suspending the creation of new charter schools until 2020.

PUBLIC SAFETY-CRIME

Passed: Banning the use of solitary confinement for pregnant inmates and juvenile. Prohibiting possession of a firearm for people subject to a permanent restraining order from domestic violence cases; downgrading traffic violations that carried potential jail time to focus court resources on serious crime.

Failed: Requiring background checks on most private firearms transactions; banning alcohol from repeat drunken driving offenders; prohibiting people from openly carrying weapons inside the headquarters of the state Legislature; reinstating the death penalty for convicted killers of police, corrections officer and children; banning drones from flying within 500 feet of power plants and refineries.

HEALTH-CHILD WELFARE

Passed: Allowing workers to use sick leave already provided by employers to care for sick and aging relatives; asking the Department of Health to establish a database of patients with neurological disorders and share aggregate data with researchers around the world; outlawing the practice of "conversion therapy" to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity;

Failed: Allowing doctors to help terminally-ill patients to end their lives legally. Imposing a tax on sodas by excluding carbonated beverages from the definition of "food"; banning indoor tanning for minors under 18.

ETHICS-CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Passed: Creating an independent ethics commission with approval from voters in a statewide ballot initiative scheduled for November 2018; identifying donors to independent political groups that spend unlimited amounts of money to influence New Mexico elections; increasing campaign donation limits for legislative candidates to $10,000 per primary-general election cycle.

Failed: Funding for an overhaul of the state's public website for campaign finance disclosures.

BUSINESS

Passed: Raising minimum wage to $9.25 an hour and prohibiting further restrictions on employers who don't provide advance notice of work hours to employees; Raising minimum wage to $9 an hour from $7.50 with an $8 training wage for the first two months of employment; capping payday loans at a 176 percent interest rate; establishing a research program for the industrial production of hemp after a veto was declared invalid; expanding access to high-speed internet connections through a "dig once" policy to lay broadband conduit anytime utility trenches are opened.

Failed: Capping payday loans at a 36 percent interest rate, opening the way for public-private partnerships on major infrastructure projects; prohibiting mandatory union dues; legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana.

ENVIRONMENT

Passed: Providing for remediation of the danger posed by the Carlsbad brine well and creating the Carlsbad brine well remediation advisory authority; pursuing contracts for rooftop solar on state buildings to save electricity costs over time with no up-front public investment; creating a new fund for restoration of state trust lands damaged by oil spills, wildfires, illegal dumping and more.

Failed: Restoring the authority of the Oil Conservation Division to fine oil and gas well operators for spills and leaks, increasing the amount of renewable energy supplied by investor-owned utilities and cooperatives to customers through 2040, extending tax credits for household rooftop solar energy systems.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION RELATED

Passed: Ensuring access to contraceptives at no personal cost as provided under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Failed: Preventing state law enforcement agencies from enforcing some federal immigration laws, prohibiting state cooperation on construction of a wall on the border.

MISCELLANEOUS

Passed: Allowing the issuing of "green and red chile license plates.

Failed: Making the green chile cheeseburger the state's official cheeseburger; designating "Chile Verde Rock" as the state's official chile song; declaring "Gracias New Mexico" as the official state winter holiday song; adopting "La Marcha de los Novios" as the official dance of New Mexico.

Credits

The Associated Press

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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