Category Archives: Legislation

Bills in the NM Legislature or other Legislative Issues

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.


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PDACNM Newsletter January 25, 2016

Alan WebberAlan Webber: Legislature can do a lot to get state’s economy moving
From ProgressNow – January 20, 2016 (

By Alan Webber, former Democratic candidate for governor and Santa Fe entrepreneur.

The legislative session is here. While there are many issues that deserve some attention, there is only one crisis that demands everyone’s focus: The dismal condition of the New Mexico economy.
We all know the same facts: high unemployment rate, low job creation rate, high poverty rate, shrinking population.

We all also know that New Mexico has enormous untapped potential. Our future is hiding in plain sight. We have everything we need to create our own strategy, to build our own future, to make New Mexico work for all of us.

That’s what this legislative session – and frankly, every legislative session for the forseeable future – needs to focus on. It’s time to go to work on the economy with a sense of pragmatism and urgency.
Here’s what we need to do:

Stop wasting precious time, money and political capital. In his classic business bestseller “Good to Great,” Jim Collins notes that all CEOs have “to do lists” – but great leaders have “stop doing lists.” When it comes to our economy, we need a stop doing list: Stop doing things that don’t work.
That means no more empty rhetoric about making New Mexico a “right to work” state. That won’t create jobs. No more wasted time on a “closing fund” to bribe out-of-state corporations to move here: Smokestack chasing doesn’t work.

Let’s focus on real solutions that will make a difference in the lives of New Mexicans.
Begin by investing in the infrastructure that matters most to our economy. Every part of the state should have high-speed internet connectivity. Do we want to be part of the digital economy? Do we want jobs not only making films, TV shows and digital games, but also editing them and doing post-production? Should education, health care and web-based commerce be available to every rural community? It’s simple: extend the Internet to every part of New Mexico.

Next improve cellular phone coverage for the whole state. If we want to be a state where people can do business any time and any place, we need total coverage for mobile phones and mobile apps. That’s how business gets done in the 21st century.

Then work on improving airplane service. When federal law governing Southwest Airlines lapsed, we lost critical flights. We need those flights back if we want the economy to grow.

Next we should take a hard look at State Auditor Tim Keller’s report that says we’ve got billions of taxpayer dollars allocated for capital improvements sitting unspent. If Keller is wrong, the Martinez administration needs to point it out. But if Keller is right, we need a task force to put that money to work – and use it to put New Mexicans to work at the same time.

There’s more low-hanging fruit. The Legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill to enable New Mexico’s farmers to explore industrial hemp as a high-value cash crop last session. The governor vetoed it. That bill makes good economic sense for our state.

So does support for wind, solar and renewable energy. By underinvesting in renewables, we’re passing up good jobs and an even better future for New Mexico.

Entrepreneurship and innovation are the hallmarks of the new economy. We’re starting to see signs that New Mexico is getting into the game: The State Investment Council just approved an allocation to promote startups. Cities, towns, schools and universities, nonprofits, businesses and unions should embrace our existing small businesses and our emerging startup culture as the right path to the future. It’s time for every New Mexican to think and act like an entrepreneur.

Two other big tasks face the Legislature. We need to invest in early childhood education, period. In the knowledge economy, education is economic development. And it’s past time that we rewrote our state tax laws. They’re out of date and hollowed out by giveaways and tax breaks. New Mexico needs a 21st-century tax code for a 21st-century economy.

There’s a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it. It won’t all get done in one 30-day session. But we must start. There’s no time to waste. It’s time to go to work putting New Mexicans to work.

New Mexicans know Alan Webber as a former Democratic candidate for governor in 2014 and as a Santa Fe-based entrepreneur. His is the former co-founder of Fast Company magazine.




Each year PDACNM follows a selected list of bills filed in the 2016 Legislature which relate to our core principles of social justice, health care, voting rights, ending corporate rule and the environment. This spread sheet (download here – rev. 2/13) will allow you to follow the daily and weekly progress or lack of progress of a bill that might fit any of these issues.

This list is currently only a suggested list until the bills are considered germane to this session. Only bills related to finance will be considered during this 30-day session, except for those given a “call” by the governor or last year’s bills vetoed by the governor.

Therefore, some of these bills on this list will disappear. However, we invite you to check our web page regularly after the session begins to follow bills that interest you and yours. And then we urge you to join our Action Alert Team either to write letters, make phone calls or send emails asking your legislator to either vote for or against such bills. You can join by getting in touch with Paul Stokes at

Other Sources For Legislative Information

Protect New Mexico is your window into the decision-making process — your source for environmental information at the New Mexico Legislature. Link to the  Get started by viewing measures from the 2016 session and/or interim committee meeting information here!



2015-01-15 16_13_13-New Mexico Legislature

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PDACNM Newsletter January 11, 2016


Basic Facts:

The Legislature has 2 chambers: The House and the Senate

Senators elected for 4 year terms; Representative for 2 years
Membership: 42 in Senate; 70 in House
This year the Republicans have a majority in the House; Democrats currently are in majority in the Senate.
This year the Leg meets for a 30 day session;
On alternate years the session is 60 days long.
The 30 day sessions are limited to budget items, vetoed legislation from 2015, and legislation that the Governor puts on her call. There are three basic types of legislation:
“Bills,” which propose new laws or change existing laws
“Joint Resolutions,” which are like declarations and usually involve an amendment to the NM State Constitution which must eventually be passed by voters in a statewide election.
“Memorials,” which state an intention of the legislature but do not become law.
The Legislative Process: Where PDA Can Act

Prior to and during the session, Senators and Representatives may file legislation that they would like to sponsor for passing into law with the Legislative Council Service. This office approves as is or writes all legislation, advising as to its legal accuracy and putting it into proper format.

PDA leadership tracks the bills, resolutions and memorials filed on the legislative website and puts the ones PDA holds as a priority on a spreadsheet to be updated throughout the session and distributed to the membership.

When the Session begins, legislation is accepted by a committee in the House and in the Senate. In the 30-day session, a bill is either deemed germane or not by the Senate Committee’s Committee and the House Rules Committee. Each one is then assigned to a committee(s) to which it is relevant. For example, a bill in the senate concerning the courts would go to a Judiciary Committee, and a bill in the House concerning voter registration might go to Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs and Regulatory and Public Affairs.

Committee Chairpersons then make an agenda for their committee each day. These agendas are posted on the legislature’s website. The PDA leadership checks the agendas and sends out email “ACTION ALERTS” to those who want to receive them concerning when and where a bill is scheduled to be debated in committee. Participants then email or call the legislators on that committee asking them to support or oppose a certain bill.

If a bill is approved by the committees that debate it in one chamber (House or Senate), it goes to the floor of that chamber to be debated and voted on there. If it passes that chamber, it then goes through the same process in the other chamber. If it passes the process in the second chamber, it is sent to the Governor’s office to be signed or vetoed.

Participants can be emailing or calling legislators all through this process. Legislative offices keep a count of supporters and opposers, and tell us that the Senators and Representatives do take these numbers into consideration.

If bills receive a do not pass in a committee, are tabled or are never put on an agenda (the Chair’s prerogative), they are stalled in the process and are considered a no pass.

Summary by Ann Dunlap