Gov. signs step therapy, guardianship bills; pet food fee vetoed | KOB 4
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Gov. signs step therapy, guardianship bills; pet food fee vetoed

Marian Camacho and J.R. Oppenheim
March 01, 2018 08:34 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. – Two bills that were a result of this year’s Legislative session have been signed into law. Gov. Susana Martinez signed the bills late last night.

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Senate Bill 11 will improve “step therapy” which is when an insurance company decides what drug a patient needs based on costs and affordability, rather than having a doctor choose based on health conditions.

“I am so pleased to have the support from the governor on this legislation,” said Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque. "Patients need the best, most effective care possible, and the current 'step therapy' model imposed by insurance companies doesn’t always put the patient first and caters to the needs of insurance companies, rather than the patient. This law fixes that and will have a lasting impact on the quality of healthcare for New Mexicans."

Martinez signed Senate Bill 19 Wednesday which would reform guardianship laws in New Mexico.  The goal is to provide more transparency and safeguards for protected persons and their families.

“Families and their loved ones across New Mexico deserve to be treated with respect in a transparent system that is designed to protect our most vulnerable adults,” said Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque. "With this legislation, we are taking critical steps to reforming the guardianship system, to help people when they are most in need."

Martinez also approved a bill to require audits on the governor's discretionary fund. The governor has $80,000 to use for events. In addition to the audit, the new law requires any unused money to go back to the state general fund.

However, Martinez vetoed House Bill 64, which would have imposed a fee on pet food manufacturers to sell their products in New Mexico. The money raised through the $100 fee per label would have gone to help pay for spaying and neutering pets.

Though Martinez supports spay and neutering efforts, her office says a tax isn't the way to do it. Though the governor's announcement calls it a tax, the legislation referred to it as a fee.

Her office also said local governments are in a better position to implement those policies.

"I strongly encourage New Mexicans to spay and neuter their pets – however this misguided legislation is nothing more than a tax increase that would not solve the problem," the governor said. "I gave my word to New Mexicans that I would not raise taxes, and I intend to keep that promise throughout my entire term."

Three Democrats in the House -- Reps. Carl Trujillo of Santa Fe, Debbie Rodella of Española and Joanne Ferrary -- sponsored the bill.

Credits

Marian Camacho and J.R. Oppenheim

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