Local legislators got share of bills passed in session

By Steve Terrell
The Santa Fe New Mexican

The Santa Fe area’s delegation accounted for many of the hundreds of bills that survived the New Mexico Legislature’s recent 60-day session.

Two Senate committee chairmen — Sens. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, and Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe — led the pack among local lawmakers in sheer number of bills passed. Griego sponsored or co-sponsored 13 bills that passed both the Senate and the House.

Most of the legislation still awaits a decision by Gov. Susana Martinez, who has until April 15 to either veto the bills or sign those she wants to become law.

For the complete list of bills each member of the local delegation successfully carried in the session, see Page A-4. All are Democrats and all are from Santa Fe except where noted.

Sen. Peter Wirth

• SB 14, sponsored by Wirth and co-sponsored with Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, would extend the sustainable-building tax credit for five years. The bill was amended to apply only to properties that meet energy-efficiency and other “green” building standards. The tax credit is transferable. Builders say the tax credit is essential to help the state’s still struggling construction industry.

• SB 16 would change the public campaign financing system for Public Regulation Commission candidates and judges in a statewide election. The bill is meant to fix the system’s provision for matching funds to bring it in line with a court decision that nullified part of the current law.

• SB 99 would require that by the end of 2014, dental offices must install an amalgam separator system that can be operated and maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations.

• SB 101 would authorize state participation in the Energy Conservation Bonds program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This allows states and large local governments to issue bonds to finance a wide range of clean energy projects and activities, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean fuels, efficient transportation and public outreach. New Mexico is allocated $20.6 million in bonding capacity.

• SB 107, the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act, sponsored by Wirth, provides a one-page form for owners to use to transfer property and avoid probate.

• SB 479 would prevent double dipping with regard to water resources. It would require landowners who have sold irrigation rights from their property to obtain new water rights or hook into a community water service before subdividing the land.

• SB 480 would require developers to provide proof of adequate water supplies for subdivisions of 10 parcels or more, with any one parcel 2 acres or less in size, before county commissioners approve final plats.

• SB 349 would raise the income eligibility for the Public Service Law Loan Repayment Program, making more attorneys eligible to participate in the program.

• SB 479 deals with making sure subdivisions have adequate water supplies.

Sen. Nancy Rodriguez

• SB 164 would allow the New Mexico School for the Arts to seek public funding for outreach activities and room and board for those students financially unable to pay the full cost.

• SB 171 would create a new interim legislative subcommittee dealing with concerns of the disabled.

• SB 172 would halt the planned repeal of the Signed Language Interpreting Practices Board.

• SB 320 would amend the law dealing with service animals for the disabled by redefining a “qualified service animal” to mean a “qualified service dog” or “qualified service miniature horse” that has been trained to provide assistance to people with a disability.

• SB 458 would require the state Human Services and Health departments to obtain prior legislative approval before making a modification to the Developmental Disabilities Home and Community-Based Services Waiver that would affect how eligibility or a recipient’s level of care or support is determined.

• SB 510 is a technical change related to taxing agricultural land.

Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose

• SB 328 would make major changes in the law governing taxis, moving companies, ambulances and buses. The law would ease the way for more competition while keeping in place consumer protections.

• SB 190 would grant $300,000 of liquor excise-tax funds to a fund to provide ignition interlocks to convicted drunken-driving offenders who are indigent can’t afford to pay for court-required interlocks.

• SB 192 would clarify legal language related to surety contracts.

• SB 205 would provide more detail regarding a real estate seller’s responsibilities related to offering an opinion on the value of a property.

• SB 206 would expand regulatory requirements that currently pertain to insurance covering the repair or replacement of cellphones and other portable electronic devices when that insurance is sold by the vendors of those devices.

• SB 266 would allow state architectural and engineering contractors to be awarded multiple contracts using a single application. It also would increase the per firm, per contract cap to $500,000 from $200,000 and increase the per firm, per multiple contracts cap to $2 million from $200,000 in any four-year period.

• SB 212 would make various changes in the law regarding out-of-state real estate brokers, including making unlicensed brokerage activity, fraud, misrepresentation and wrongful conversion of funds fourth-degree felonies.

• SB 310, if signed by the governor, would mean a viral hepatitis test couldn’t be performed on anyone without that individual’s consent, even if another individual was significantly exposed to hepatitis. A person exposed to hepatitis no longer would be able to petition a court to order the hepatitis test on the person suspected of having hepatitis.

• SB 423 would create a new kind of beer-and-wine license for bed-and-breakfast establishments.

• SB 424 would allow for third-party beer, wine or liquor tastings to be conducted on the licensed premises of dispensers, retailers, resident manufacturers or winegrowers. Servers at the events would have to be certified under the Liquor Control Act. The permit would be valid for one year and cost $100.

• SB 586 would allow additional payments to hospitals pursuant to a waiver agreement, rule, law or state plan amendment providing for supplemental Medicaid payments.

Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela

• SB 7 (co-sponsored with Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque) would require an annual study of “tax expenditures” in which the state forgoes revenues via tax breaks or credits.

• SB 27 (co-sponsored by Sen. George Muñoz, D-Grants) made major changes to state employee retirement plans.

• SB 182 (co-sponsored with Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque) provides for procurement code changes.

• HB 417 would create the Cultural Affairs Department Enterprise Fund as an account that would hold the Department of Cultural Affairs’ revenues, donations, bequests and any nongeneral fund appropriations to the fund.

Rep. Jim Trujillo

• HB 353 would reauthorize about $32.7 million for 52 capital outlay projects.

• HB 172 would close an income-tax loophole involving multistate taxpayers. Currently, taxpayers receive a credit capped at 5.5 percent of apportionable income. The bill specifies that the credit cannot exceed the taxpayer’s liability.

Rep. Brian Egolf

• HB 216, the Fair Pay for Women Act, which has been signed by the governor, prohibits wage discrimination based on gender and makes it easier for women to seek injunctive relief and damages in such cases. The bill also prohibits employers from retaliating against a person making a claim under the act.

• HB 327 (co-sponsored with Sen. Phil Griego) would require the Higher Education Department to include all physical education student credit hours for purposes of determining funding for any community college that provides physical education courses.

• HB 85 would allow the State Land Office to create regulations for sustainable development of geothermal energy and encourage development of geothermal resources as renewable energy, with environmental protections. It would limit the state land commissioner’s authority in setting royalty rates for the use of geothermal resources.

Rep. Stephen Easley

• HB 493 , which has been signed by the governor, will create a public clearinghouse for data at The University of New Mexico’s Resource Geographic Information Center. The center will use environmental statistics and geologic data to create maps and other graphics that show a wide range of information about the state, from fire impacts to soil conditions.

• HB 494 would change definitions in the law regarding pipelines that supporters say would reduce the risk of damage to underground utilities during excavation activities.

• HB 171 would require that telemedicine services be included under all insurance coverage and group health plans. “Telemedicine” is the use of interactive audio and video or other telecommunications technology by a health-care provider to deliver services at a site other than the patient’s location.

Rep. Carl Trujillo

• HB 401 would expand authorized investments through the Severance Tax Permanent Fund in New Mexico companies established to perform technology transfer, research and development, research commercialization, manufacturing, training, marketing or public relations in any field of science or technology.

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos

• HB 107 would allow small municipalities to transfer revenue from traffic fines to their general funds.

• HB 562 would create the Technology Research Collaborative, which would establish advanced technology centers and develop new intellectual property for the state. The institutions participating in the collaborative would include all national laboratories, other major research institutes and all of the post-secondary educational institutions in New Mexico. The New Mexico Institute for Mining and Technology would act as fiscal agent for the collaborative.

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