Category Archives: Legislation

Bills in the NM Legislature or other Legislative Issues

Have you experienced “Surprise Medical Billing”? Your stories are needed!

Rep. Nathan Small has introduced SB 207, the Surprise Billing Protection Act to protect consumers from this unfair billing practice. If you have a story to tell please send it to in the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance who is in support of this bill.

Surprise medical billing occurs when an insured person is treated by an out-of-network provider that the patient had no role in choosing.  This occurs most frequently in medical emergencies or major surgery situations when an insured person is treated 1) at an in-network facility for a medical or behavioral  emergency and services are provided by ancillary out-of-network providers (surgeon, radiologist, anesthesiologist, pathologist) or 2) patient receives in-patient surgery by an out-of-network provider (physician or ancillary providers) without consent of insured person and is hospitalized  or 3) with elective inpatient admissions at in-network facilities.

These surprise bills can be quite large. Patients may receive bills from multiple providers. One study showed that ambulance rides were billed out-of-network roughly half of the time.

The goals of the bill are to:

1)    Limit the amount billed for out-of- network emergency room care to what the patient would owe an in-network provider,

2)    Limit the amount billed for major surgery costs provided by out-of-network providers to what the patient would owe an in-network provider,

3)    Advise emergency patients that they could run up excess charges if they are in an out-of- network hospital; obtain statement signed by patient that they have been told and understand

4)    Eliminate “Balance Billing” or the ability of a provider to bill a covered person for the difference between the provider’s billed charges and the amount allowed by the insurance plan.  Payment disputes would be resolved by physicians and insurance and not involve consumers.

* The New Mexican Patient Protection Act allows insurers to bill only what a patient would owe an in-network provider for out-of-network emergency care.

There have been other efforts to regulate health care plans to mitigate surprise billing, including a bill introduced in Congress in 2017 by now Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, “The Fair Billing Act of 2017.” Without federal legislation, states are stepping forward to regulate plans themselves.  Other considerations are to establish legislative guidelines for out-of-network providers to seek more payment from insurance carriers based on a formula set up by either state rules or through a federal formula.

Legislative Action Alerts

NM Legislative Action Alerts for 2019 from PDA Central New Mexico Chapter

Stay actively engaged with justice- and progressive-oriented legislation during the 2019 NM Legislative Session

The 2019 legislative session will soon be upon us, and we are getting ready for action!

Once again, PDA will be sending ACTION ALERTs on progressive legislation that is scheduled to be heard and debated in committees of the New Mexico Legislature.

These alerts will tell you how to contact your legislator and what to say when you do.

  • Each alert provides basic information about the legislation.
  • A quick link to open an email to each legislator on the committee that is considering the bill.
  • The legislator’s telephone number so you can call with your message.

Be a Citizen Activist and receive these easy-to-follow alerts. Sign up by:  emailing Paul Stokes at with the subject “Add me to your action alert email list”. Please include your name in the body of the email.

REMINDER: Legislative session dates:

  • Legislation may be pre-filed  – December 17, 2018
  • Session begins – January 15, 2019
  • Deadline for introduction of legislation – February 14, 2019
  • Session ends – March 16, 2019

Together, we can make the changes that bring justice and well-being for all New Mexicans.





Rep. Ben Ray Luján:  DC office – (202) 225-6190; Rio Rancho – (505) 994-0499

Please thank Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham for her no vote.  DC office – (202) 225-6316; ABQ office – (505) 346-6781

Farm Bill: Republicans Want to Cut Food Assistance & MORE!
  • What’s the issue: The Farm Bill was last passed in 2013, and it must be reauthorized every five years. It’s a $100 billion legislative package that covers everything from farm subsidies and agricultural programs to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps). Typically, it is a bipartisan exercise-but in April, Republicans passed a partisan bill out of committee that takes away food assistance from people (over two million people could be kicked out of the program) and instead funds unproven, unscalable job training programs that will leave people hungry.
  • What to expect: The House is expected to vote on the Farm Bill the week of May 14; it will probably pass with few or no Democratic votes. The Senate will take it up after that; it’s likely they will start from scratch with their own version.
  • Bottom line: Only a few months after voting to give trillions in tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, House Republicans are back to make life worse for families who rely on federal food assistance. The House vote in mid-May will only be the start of this fight; we’ll keep you updated as it goes forward.
Links to info about Farm Bill:
 Farm and Ranch Freedon  Here
Sierra Club here
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy here
AgMag here
Here are six strikes against H.R. 2, the Agricultural and Nutrition Act of 2018:
  1. The Rich Get Richer – The House farm bill creates new loopholes that further tilt farm subsidies toward the largest, most successful farm businesses and away from small family farmers. The bill would allow cousins, nieces and nephews of farmers to receive subsidies even if they don’t live or work on the farm. A recent report by the Department of Agriculture found that the share of subsidies claimed by the biggest farms has tripled since 1991, and H.R. 2 would make this problem worse.
  2. The Poor Get Poorer – The same bill that enriches the largest and most successful farmers will also cause more than 1 million low-income households – more than 2 million people, including working families with children – to lose their food-assistance benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or have them reduced. The bill includes unworkable job training requirements that will place new burdens on states and leave many poor Americans without food assistance.
  3. Drinking Water Gets Dirtier – The House farm bill cuts conservation spending by $800 million, including programs designed to protect drinking water from farm pollution. Although the bill includes some reforms, these provisions are outweighed by proposed cuts and new pesticide safety loopholes.
  4. Diets Get Less Healthy – While the House farm bill increases funding for SNAP recipients who shop at farmers markets, the bill eliminates funding for other programs that help finance farmers markets and help farmers build local markets for healthy products. The bill also cuts funding for programs that help organic farmers.
  5. Rural America Gets Left Behind – At the very same moment Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was hosting a conference on the importance of broadband internet to rural America, the House Agriculture Committee was voting to cut USDA rural development funding by more than $500 million. The House bill also cuts funding from programs to help farmers produce more renewable energy.
  6. States Get Sidelined – The House farm bill included a sweeping amendment from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that would broadly preempt state and local food and farm laws, including food safety and food labeling laws. Although intended to block a new California animal welfare law, the King amendment would wipe away thousands of state and local laws regulating everything from invasive pests to fishing.

Read more articles in the

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PDA CNM DIGEST May 17, 2018

Sierra Club – NM Legislative Update

The 2018 New Mexico legislative session is in full swing, and I know you want to know about the legislation that protects or threatens our climate, water, land and wildlife.

Below is a primer on priority environmental legislation. Please join our legislative listserv if you’d like action alerts during the session, and see the box at right for a great opportunity to get involved in Environment Day at the Roundhouse.

Pro-environment legislation

Solar tax credits (House Bills 36 and 87, Senate Bill 79) These bills take slightly different approaches to restoring the tax credit for New Mexico businesses and residents who install solar on their rooftops, up to 10%. It is a proven job-creator and boosts the solar industry. 

Energy-storage tax credit (HB77): This bill credits up to 30% of the purchase and installation cost of qualified storage systems, up to $5,000 for residents and $75,000 for businesses.

Funds for non-diversion Gila River projects (HB127 and SB72): These bills would earmark some of the funds currently slated for a $1 billion Gila River diversion project to go instead toward water-saving non-diversion projects in southwestern New Mexico counties.

Renewable energy on state buildings (SB7)Sen. Jeff Steinborn’s bill to install renewable energy on state buildings where it is economically feasible passed the Legislature with support from both parties but was vetoed by the governor. 

Anti-environment legislation

Keeping Coal Plants Alive (HB72)Rep. Paul Bandy’s bill would encourage the sale of coal-fired power plants for a dollar — perhaps to generators who could continue to operate these polluting facilities after New Mexico utilities have found them uneconomical. It also excludes the Public Regulation Commission from having any say in the transfer.

PNM’s Energy Redevelopment Bond (HB80) PNM must make significant commitments to the community, ratepayers and renewable energy to make this legislation — basically a state-backed bond to cover remaining debt after the San Juan coal plant closes — a positive investment rather than a bailout for PNM. 

Seizure of public lands (SB134) Sen. Cliff Pirtle’s bill demands that federal public land be transferred to the state and develops a committee to make that happen.

We are tracking many, many other bills that affect our climate, water, land and wildlife. To keep track and get action alerts, please join our legislative listserv and come to Environment Day at the Legislature on Feb. 1 (please see box for details). Write to for more information. 

Thank you for taking action and for all you do for New Mexico’s environment!

David Coss, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter chair

To learn more about the work of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, visit our website and our Facebook page.


Here’s what you did at the Legislature!


A big thank you is due to the Action Alert team of 50 people, who sent emails or made calls to members of committees hearing legislation that PDA CNM either supported or opposed. Sixty-four “blasts” were sent during the legislative session notifying team members that legislation of interest was scheduled to be heard. Over 8000 messages of support or opposition, as the case may be, were sent to members of committees hearing the legislation. Thus, an average of about 130 messages to legislators for each blast were sent! That sounds like success to me!

Aside from the unfortunate situation the state finds itself in regarding the budget, the most prominent issues in the Legislature were crime & punishment and certain social issues, such as abortion, raised by Republicans, and schools, tax relief, increased wages, and jobs for working people addressed by Democrats. Also prominent were the driver’s license/Real ID matter, and ethics legislation. This was a Legislature in which the important results were that many issues of interest to Republicans were killed in the Senate, and many issues of interest to Democrats were killed in the House. We’ll see how much legislation that survived will also survive the veto pen.

There were, of course, many other issues of interest as well. Here is a listing of the actions taken on bills that we were following:

Crime and Punishment

HB 56, Three strikes law – killed in Senate.
HB 29, Allow local government curfew ordinances – killed in Senate
HB 95, Hate crimes against law enforcement – died in Senate
Other bills related to increased penalties were introduced, some of which were not germane

Driver’s Licenses

Several bills to prevent undocumented immigrants from driving failed
HB 99, the original of which would have prevented undocumented immigrants from driving, was amended in the Senate to provide a two-tier system that does not prevent undocumented immigrants from driving.


HB 67, School grade retention & reading plans – killed in Senate
HJR 10, Permanent funds for early childhood – died in House
SB 14, Teacher & principal minimum salary increases – died in Senate
SJR 2, Permanent funds for childhood education – died in Senate
SJR 3, Permanent fund annual distributions – died in House


HB 75, Cannabis revenue & freedom act – not scheduled
HB 148, Industrial help research – not scheduled
SB 3, Research on industrial hemp – not scheduled
Also HB 26 and SB 13 listed under Energy/Environment – died in respective chambers

Taxes and Salaries

Several bills on salary increases not scheduled
HB 61, Accounts for persons with disabilities act – passed both chambers
HB 79, Working families tax credit & gains deduction – died In House
HB 125, Increase minimum wage – not scheduled
HB 126, Reduce certain income tax rates (for low incomes) – died in House
HB 154, Increase minimum wage ($15) – not scheduled
HB 200, Public works prevailing wage & projects – killed in Senate
HB 211, Employment preemption & minimum wage – withdrawn
HB 255, New higher income bracket – not scheduled
HB 292, Modify personal income tax brackets & rates – died in House
HB 323, Raise minimum wage ($10.10) – not scheduled
SB 152, Minimum salary for certain school personnel ($15) – died in Senate
SB 236, State employee minimum wage – not scheduled
SB 237, State employee & contractor minimum wage – not scheduled
SJR 18, State minimum wage – died in Senate


HB 80, State ethics commission act – not scheduled
HB 105, Electronic campaign reporting – passed both chambers
HB 96, No pension for convicted public officials – not scheduled
HJR 1, Independent redistricting commission – died in House
HJR 2, All qualified electors registered to vote – not scheduled
HJR 5, Independent ethics commission, killed in Senate
SB 2, Automatic driver’s license voter registration – not scheduled
SB 11, Campaign finance reporting requirements – died in House


HB 26, Solar market development tax credit changes – died in House
SB 13, Solar market development tax credit changes – died in Senate

Gun Control

HB 51, Firearm transfer act – not scheduled
HB 336, Comprehensive criminal records database (applicable to gun background checks) – passed both chambers

Social Issues

HB 84, Small loan interest rate caps – not scheduled
HB 230, Rape kit testing and analysis – died in House
HB 275, Require medical care for all infants (abortion-related) – not scheduled
HB 312, Change certain voter ID requirements (photo voter ID) – died in House
HJR 11, Limit certain interest rates – not scheduled
HJR 13, Denial of bail to certain defendants – died in House
SB 17, DNA evidence kit analysis – died in Senate
SB 132, Student loan repayment for some students (minorities, advanced degrees) – killed in House
SB 242, Late-term abortion ban – not scheduled
SB 243, Partial birth abortion ban – not scheduled
SB 269, Employee preference act (Right to Work for less) – not scheduled
SJR 1, Denial of bail for certain felonies (this one also does not allow detaining of defendants for lack of ability to pay bail) – passed both chambers
SJR 5, Use & tax of marijuana & revenue – failed on Senate floor
SJR 12, Constitutional convention for corporations – died in Senate


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PDACNM Newsletter February 1, 2016

PDACNM Meeting
February 10
6:30 P.M.
First Unitarian Church

Please join PDACNM at our regular second Wednesday night meeting. You are welcome to come at 6:30 to mix and mingle. The program will begin at 7:00.

On the agenda will be:

  • sign-ups for our Monthly Letter Drop
  • ward meetings and Bernie delegates
  • what’s happening at the Legislature and how you can become involved

Our featured speaker:

Dr. Kathleen O’Malley, will be speaking on “Immigration: Detaining Children – Is it Legal? What is Happening in New Mexico”.

Kathleen will be visiting Holloman Military Base this week to tour the children’s facility. It will be very interesting to hear her perspective

There will be time at the end of the meeting for two-minute announcements from the audience.