Updated: January 19, 2021 07:18 PM
Created: January 19, 2021 06:02 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico business community is anxiously watching the legislative session for bills that could have a big impact on businesses.
There are a few big issues companies are watching such as recreational marijuana legalization.
"Legalization of recreational cannabis would really impact business in terms of jobs, in terms of tax revenue,” said Rachel Sams, editor-in-chief of Albuquerque Business First. “It would also raise some new questions for businesses in terms about things like employment policies. If cannabis use recreationally was legalized, would businesses have to make big changes to their drug-testing policy for their staff?”
The other hot issue is paid sick leave legislation, which could be debated in the Roundhouse. However, the public will not be able to attend those debates in person due to public health reasons.
"Many business groups have really opposed a paid sick leave in the past, saying it would be too costly, too burdensome for businesses,” Sams said. “With the COVID pandemic, the push from the public for those mandates is only growing stronger. Workers are saying, ‘I need to know that if I'm sick I don't have to risk going to work, getting sicker and infecting others.’”
Sams said the least contentious issue of the session will likely be relief funds for businesses and worker, but there's still questions over how the money will be disperesed.
"One thing that many businesses have shared with us is that relief that comes in the forms of loans is tough for them at this time because they don't want to borrow money at a time when they're not making much in sales. So, many businesses are looking for more grant-type of relief, and any kind of financial help that they don't have to pay back,” Sams said.
Those are questions that will be answered over the course of the 60-day session.
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