100+ new laws go into effect in New Mexico today

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — June 16 is the day most new laws approved during the past legislative session go into effect. There are more than a hundred this year – with some dealing with public safety, health care and voting rights.

House Bill 306 makes so-called “straw purchases” a crime. That’s when someone knowingly buys a gun for someone else who can’t have one legally.

There’s also a law creating tougher penalties for organized retail crime. Prosecutors can combine the value of items stolen from multiple stores to make a more serious charge.

“This is aimed at these gangs that invade, literally invade, a store,” said Rep. Marian Matthews. “They threaten the shoppers, they threaten the employees. They walk out with lots of stuff.”

There’s another law that aims to cut down on catalytic converter theft. Metal dealers have to get a photo ID from anyone selling a detached catalytic converter, plus documentation, including a vehicle’s VIN number.

Other new laws create protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care. Local government cannot restrict abortion access, hormone treatments, and other transgender health care procedures.

State officials are also not allowed to investigate anyone who may face charges in another state for getting those treatments in New Mexico.

“If you’re looking for a shining moment for this Legislature, look no further than the work that they did in health care,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

As for voting rights, House Bill 4 makes voter registration automatic during certain MVD transactions. Voting access will also expand on tribal lands.

Lastly, it’s now law that the state aroma is roasting green chile.

Healthcare access and affordability: 

Senate Bill 7 – Rural Health Care Delivery: Provides $80 million to support rural health care delivery in areas of New Mexico often underserved by available health care options. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics, Rep. Gail Armstrong, and Rep. Marian Matthews. 

Senate Bill 16 – Create Health Care AuthorityDepartment: Establishes a single unified department responsible for health care purchasing, regulation and policy that provides a foundation for effective management and oversight of heath care. It aligns licensing and oversight with the purchasing of health care services and improves transparency. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics and Rep. Liz Thomson. 

Senate Bill 51 – Cost Sharing Contributions for Prescriptions: A consumer protection bill that is the result of the Prescription Drug Taskforce who studied the increasing cost of prescription drugs. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics and Rep. Liz Thomson. 

Senate Bill 245 – Rural Emergency Hospital Licensure: Amends the Public Health Act to allow for certain rural health facilities to apply for rural emergency hospital licensure to meet federal health care reimbursement. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Liz Stefanics and Sen. Stuart Ingle. 

Senate Bill 521 – Medical Malpractice Changes: Amends the Medical Malpractice Act to cap claims for independent healthcare facilities, such as urgent care, ambulatory surgical centers, and free-standing emergency rooms that are not hospital-controlled. The bill was sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter Wirth, Senate Minority Floor Leader Greg Baca, House Speaker Javier Martínez and House Minority Floor Leader Ryan Lane. 

Public safety:  

House Bill 306 – Purchase of Firearms for Another: Makes it a felony to purchase a firearm for someone who is legally prohibited from possessing one or who intends to use the firearm to commit a crime. The bill was sponsored by House Minority Floor Leader Ryan Lane, Rep. Andrea Reeb, Rep. Raymundo Lara and Rep. Bill Rehm.  

House Bill 234 – Robbery and Organized Retail Crime: Creates the crime of organized retail crime, allowing for the aggregation of multiple retail theft crimes over a period of time to target repeat offenders. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Marian Matthews, House Speaker Javier Martínez, Rep Natalie Figueroa, Rep. Antonio Maestas and Rep. Meredith Dixon. 

Senate Bill 133 – Catalytic Converter Sales Records: Requires secondhand metal dealers who purchase or receive catalytic converters to keep records of the transaction that include the seller’s information, a copy of their identification, and legal documentation that demonstrates their ownership of the catalytic converter. The bill was sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, Sen. Leo Jaramillo, House Speaker Javier Martínez, Rep. Joshua Hernandez and Rep. Janelle Anyanonu. 

Reproductive rights: 

Senate Bill 13 – Reproductive Health Provider Protections: Codifies the protections outlined in Gov. Lujan Grisham’s August 2022 executive order, including prohibiting entities within the state from sharing patient information related to reproductive health care for New Mexico patients and providers. SB 13 also goes further by prohibiting public bodies from restricting access to abortion and gender-affirming health care. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez, Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, Sen. Brenda McKenna and Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill. 

House Bill 7 – The Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act: Prohibits public bodies, including local municipalities, from denying, restricting, or discriminating against an individual’s right to use or refuse reproductive health care or health care related to gender. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Linda Serrato, Rep. Charlotte Little, Rep. Kristina Ortez, Majority Whip Reena Szczepanski and Rep. Janelle Anyanonu.    

Voting rights:  

House Bill 4 – Voting Rights Protections: Enacts the first-in-the-nation Native American Voting Rights Act allowing Indian nations, tribes, and pueblos to amend their request for voting locations and to apply for secured ballot drop boxes and allows electors to use government buildings as their mailing address. The legislation also automatically registers voters at the MVD or other local public offices designated by the Secretary of State; restores the right of previously incarcerated individuals to vote upon their release from custody; creates a voluntary permanent absentee voter list; prohibits the transfer or publication of voter data online; mandates same-day voter registration at all polling places; and mandates at least two monitored secure ballot drop boxes per county. The bill was sponsored by House Speaker Javier Martínez, Majority Floor Leader Gail Chasey, Sen. Katy Duhigg, Sen. D. Wonda Johnson and Rep. Raymundo Lara.