CVNM’s 2018 Legislative Agenda
This memo is divided into five sections:
- Pro-Conservationlegislation that passed and was enacted
- Pro-conservationlegislation that passed and was not enacted
- Pro-Conservationlegislation that didn’t pass
- Anti-Conservationlegislation that passed
- Anti-Conservation legislation thatdidn’t pass
**Starred bills are high-priority. Voteson these measures may be weighted on CVNM’s Scorecard.
- Pro-Conservationlegislation that passed and was enacted
HB 204: Healthy Soil Act (Small/Stansbury; Stefanics)
HB 204 creates a healthy soil program within the Department of Agriculture which would promote and support farming and ranching systems and other forms of land management that increase soil organic matter, carbon content, aggregate stability, microbiology and water retention to improve the health, and yield and profitability of the soils of the state. HB 204 passed the House 48-6 and passed the Senate 34-0. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 2, 2019.
HB 266: Forest and Watershed Restoration Act (Bandy; Wirth)
HB 266 establishes the Forest and Watershed Advisory Board, which will evaluate forest and watershed restoration projects and recommend them for funding. The act specifies the board will work cooperatively with other governmental entities and interest groups and solicit funding as well as administer funding from the forest land protection revolving fund and the Rio Grande income fund. It specifies priorities for projects that leverage byproducts of forest restoration activities for economic benefit. HB 266 passed the House 62-0 and passed the Senate 38-0. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 15, 2019.
HB 291: Efficient Use of Energy Act Changes (A. Romero)
HB 291 establishes thresholds for energy efficiency programs which, at minimum, save 5% of energy costs to customers. The bill also provides for the removal of regulatory disincentives to energy efficiency programs. HB 291 passed the House 58-7 and passed the Senate 27-13. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 3, 2019.
HB 440: Solar Energy Improvement Assessments (Akhil/Sariñana/Sanchez)
HB 440 provides that a customer may voluntarily request a solar energy improvement special assessment be applied to their property in order to access the benefits of solar technology. The bill provides that these assessments may be applied on residential or commercial property within the boundaries of an incorporated municipality in a county if the municipality adopts a resolution approving the application of the county’s ordinance. HB 440 passed the House 35-28 and passed the Senate 31-8. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 28, 2019.
HB 521: PRC Application for Vehicle Electricity (Rubio/Woods/Louis/Anderson/ Garratt)
HB 521 requires public utilities to file applications to expand transportation electrification, i.e., charging facilities for electric vehicles. HB 521 makes rules for the approval of these applications, including the facilities’ ability to meet clean air standards and inclusion of low-income people and communities. HB 521 passed the House 45-17 and passed the Senate 22-12. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 3, 2019.
HB 581: Hemp Manufacturing Act (Lente)
HB 581 requires a person licensed to grow hemp have a harvest certificate before harvesting for sale. The bill 1) requires manufacturers of hemp products to buy only hemp accompanied by a harvest certificate; 2) provides for rulemaking regarding the issuance of a harvest certificate and licensure and permitting of hemp breeders, manufacturers and transporters. Acknowledges that Indian nations, Tribes and Pueblos may promulgate their own rules or enter into joint powers agreements with New Mexico authorities; and 3) removes hemp from the controlled substances schedule. This bill facilitates hemp manufacturing that will enable hemp, an eco-friendly and drought tolerant crop, to become a production crop in New Mexico. HB 581 passed the House 62-2 and passed the Senate 40-0. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 1, 2019.
HB 651: Water Data Act (Stansbury/G. Armstrong; Sedillo Lopez)
HB 651 creates a Water Data Council, which will identify key water data sets, develop standards for water data, make water data available and useful, develop a platform for that data and identify information gaps and future needs. The council will, among other duties, develop an assessment of water data and information needs to support water management and planning in the state. HB 651 passed the House 62-0 and passed the Senate 37-0. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 2, 2019.
SB 76: Prohibit Coyote Killing Contests (Moores/Steinborn)
SB 76 prohibits organized or sponsored competitions with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment. SB 76 passed the Senate 22-17 and passed the House 37-30. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 2, 2019.
SB 228: Wildlife Corridors Act (Stewart; Louis/Ferrary)
SB 228 charges the Department of Game and Fish, in coordination with the Department of Transportation, with creating an action plan to enhance wildlife corridors (areas of natural wildlife movement and migration) to lessen the impact of roads on wildlife movement and migration and lessen the incidence of wildlife-vehicle incidents. SB 228 passed the Senate 24-18 and passed the House 51-12. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 28, 2019.
SB 234: Pollinator Protection License Plate (Rue)
SB 234 creates a special license plate for pollinator protection. A portion of the funds raised will be used to promote pollinator-friendly roadside and special plantings. SB 234 passed the Senate 30-3 and passed the House 56-2. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 2, 2019.
SB 383: Game Commission Fair Chase Rulemaking (Campos)
SB 383 authorizes the Game Commission to make rules that embody the principles of fair chase, which may include prohibitions on the use of certain technologies for hunting or fishing or may include withholding from the public specific wildlife location data that is collected by the department. This will serve to protect wildlife from unethical hunting and fishing practices. SB 383 passed the Senate 39-0 and passed the House 63-0. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 28, 2019.
SB 458: Notice of Meetings Involving State Trust Land (Ivey-Soto)
SB 458 requires the Commissioner of Public Lands to publish notice of and hold a public meeting to receive public comment regarding the following activities: (1) land sales; (2) land exchanges; (3) right-of-way permits for electrical transmission lines in excess of 230 kilovolts situated on state trust land; and (4) right-of-way permits for oil or gas pipelines in excess of 24 inches in diameter and at least 10 miles in length situated on state trust land. SB 458 passed the Senate 35-4 and passed the House 63-0. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 1, 2019.
**SB 462: Create Outdoor Recreation Division (Steinborn; Small/Rubio/ Johnson/Neville)
SB 462 creates a division of outdoor recreation in the Economic Development Department. It establishes that the Outdoor Recreation Division will (1) increase outdoor recreation-based economic development, tourism and ecotourism; (2) work to expand outdoor recreation infrastructure; (3) assist in the promotion and marketing of outdoor recreation opportunities and events; (4) assist New Mexico residents in establishing outdoor recreation-based businesses and connecting them with economic development resources and opportunities; (5) recruit out-of-state based outdoor recreation businesses to locate in New Mexico; (6) promote stewardship and preservation of New Mexico’s unique environment and cultural assets; (7) promote education and use of outdoor recreation assets to enhance public health; and (8) support outdoor recreation programs at New Mexico educational institutions. The bill also establishes the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee, the Special Projects and Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Fund and the Outdoor Equity Grant Program and Fund. SB 462 passed the Senate 38-0 and passed the House 52-14. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 2, 2019.
**SB 489: Energy Transition Act (Candelaria/Stewart; Small/Roybal Caballero/ Egolf)
SB 489 sets a statewide renewable energy standard of 50% by 2030 for New Mexico investor-owned utilities and rural electric cooperatives and a goal of 80% by 2040 that investor-owned utilities must meet, subject to cost and reliability considerations. In addition, the bill sets zero-carbon resources standards for investor-owned utilities by 2045 and rural electric cooperatives by 2050. The bill establishes a pathway for an energy transition in the Four Corners area while providing relief to workers in San Juan County affected by the closure of coal units. The bill provides for training for these workers and uses low-interest bonds to finance economic relief for communities dealing with closures and directs that replacement power, including renewables, be developed in San Juan County as a means of restoring the community’s tax base. SB 489 passed the Senate 32-9 and passed the House 43-22. The bill was signed by the Governor on March 22, 2019.
SB 553: Oil Conservation Commission Fees (Cervantes)
SB 553 permits the Oil Conservation Commission (OCD) to establish a schedule of administrative filing fees, application fees and permit fees sufficient to cover the reasonable costs of reviewing, implementing and enforcing the terms and conditions of a granted order, application or permit pursuant to the Oil and Gas Act. This will provide the OCD with more funds to enable it to carry out its duties. SB 553 passed the Senate 35-6 and passed the House 59-0. The bill was signed by the Governor on April 4, 2019.
2. Pro-Conservation legislation that passed and was not enacted
SB 5: Interstate Stream Commission Membership (Wirth)
SB 5 specifies how appointments are to be made to the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) and provides for less politicized and more professional membership. A less political membership would enhance conservation outcomes at the ISC. SB 5 passed the Senate 30-10 and passed the House 46-16. The bill was pocket vetoed by the Governor.
3. Pro-Conservation legislation that didn’t pass
HB 15: Rural Electric Coop Renewable Standards (Small; Stewart)
HB 15 would have increased the required amount of renewable energy that rural cooperatives and public utilities must use to provide electricity to their customers in a gradually increasing amount over the next 20 – 25 years. The bill required public utilities to meet a target of 80% by 2040, also dependent on generation cost and cost to the customer. This bill included hydropower as a renewable source. HB 15 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee (was not heard). Note that SB 489, which includes renewable portfolio standards, did pass.
**HB 28: Resource Sustainability and Security Act (Stansbury)
HB 28 would have created a sustainability and resilience council that would have developed a government wide plan to (a) ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of New Mexico and its infrastructure and resources; (b) prepare the state for climate change; (c) reduce the vulnerability of natural and built systems, economic sectors, natural resources and communities to risk; (d) promote long-term water and energy resource security; and (e) support state economic development and diversification. The council would have provided guidance to state agencies and worked with stakeholders in creating agency plans and accomplishing the goals of the plan. HB 28 passed the House 40-23 and passed the Senate Conservation Committee, but died in the Senate Finance Committee.
HB 63: Study Industrial Hemp Production and Sales (Ch. Trujillo/Roybal Caballero)
HB 63 would have funded a study to examine how to incentivize industrial hemp growth and sales in the state of New Mexico. Hemp is a sustainable and highly eco-friendly product that can be used to develop clothing, paper and other goods as well as create another local farming economy at the state level. HB 63 died on the House Appropriations and Finance Committee calendar.
HB 84/SB 50: Auto Voter Registration at MVD and Elsewhere (Ely/Sariñana/Roybal Caballero/Garrett/Hochman-Vigil; Steinborn)
HB 84/SB 50 would have allowed people getting a driver’s license or identification card, and people using a public assistance office or office for services to people with disabilities to be automatically registered to vote, unless they were ineligible or specifically declined. These were bills that would have expanded voting access to more New Mexicans. HB 84 passed the House 44-22 but died in the Senate Rules Committee. SB 50 died in the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 86/SB 52: Election Day and Early Voting Registration (Ely/Sariñana/Roybal Caballero/Garrett; Steinborn)
HB 86/SB 52 would have allowed people to register to vote at a polling location on election day or during the early voting period. This were bills that would have expanded voting access to more New Mexicans. HB 86 passed the House 44-22 but died in the Senate Rules Committee. SB 52 died in the Senate Rules Committee.
Note that a “dummy” bill, SB 672, which was introduced late in the session and contained language to accomplish the same policy in HB 84, SB 50, HB 86 and SB 52 did pass.
HB 118: Benefit Corporation Act (Cook)
HB 118 established the means by which a business or professional corporation may become a benefit corporation, defined and described the duties of its directors, benefit director, benefit officers and their liabilities. A benefit corporation is one that creates a general public benefit, including protecting and restoring the environment. HB 118 was tabled and died in the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 174: Lower Rio Grande Water Management and Planning (T. Salazar)
HB 174 would have required the state engineer to promulgate rules in coordination with the Interstate Stream Commission to better manage water rights in the Lower and Middle Rio Grande. Some rules would have required measuring all diversions of water and reporting the measurement results, establishing priority of water rights and developing alternative approaches to achieve interstate river company compliance. HB 174 died in the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.
HB 175/SB 509: Regional Water Utility Authority Act (T. Salazar; Wirth)
HB 175 established regional water authorities, which would have regulated and restricted the use of domestic water within the authority’s service area. This would have provided for more coordination in the use of water, may have restricted the indiscriminate drilling of private wells and would have provided for the proper disposal of waste water. HB 175 died in the House Judiciary Committee on a tie vote. SB 509 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard).
HB 185/SB 333: Electric Motor Vehicles Fees and Tax Credits (J. Trujillo; Sedillo Lopez/Woods)
HB 185/SB 333 granted a tax credit to purchasers or lessors of all-electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, with larger tax credits to lower income individuals. This would have incentivized use of electric vehicles which contribute less to air pollution. The bills would have offset some of the cost of tax credits with registration fees, to be distributed to the road fund. HB 185 died on the House calendar. SB 333 died in the Senate Corporations Committee (never heard).
HB 186: Regional Water Planning Act (T. Salazar; Wirth)
HB 186 would have granted reformed powers to the Interstate Stream Commission to include conducting water planning and established guidelines for that planning. Among these guidelines it required that planning be science and fact-based and cognizant of climate change impacts, required meetings held for water planning to be subject to the Open Meetings Act and required participation by indigenous communities. HB 186 was tabled and died in the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.
HB 187: Water Law Evaluation and Review (T. Salazar)
HB 187 tasked the Utton Transboundary Resources Center of the University of New Mexico with evaluating and recommending amendments to state water law. The bill provided those recommendations should take into account climate change and warming temperatures and actions for greater oversight of water resource planning issues. HB 187, while passed by the House Judiciary Committee and the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, was requested referred to the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, and it appeared that the referral was never accomplished.
**HB 206: Environmental Review Act (Chasey; Stewart)
HB 206 would have required non-federal government agencies to consider the impacts of a state-funded project that may affect public health, ecosystems and the environment. The bill specified that environmental assessments must be done and provided for input from indigenous communities and the general public. HB 206 died on the calendar of the House State Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee as sponsors were making technical changes to the bill.
**HB 210/SB 281: Community Solar Act (Roybal Caballero/A. Romero; Stefanics)
HB 210/SB 281 established rules for community solar facilities and specifically reserved a portion of shares for low-income customers. The bills would have allowed renters, low-income utility customers and persons without suitable locations for solar generation on their premises to participate in local solar generation facilities by allowing subscription in community solar generation. This would have stimulated the growth of the solar industry and expanded the number of New Mexicans who have access to solar energy. HB 210 passed the House 42-25 and passed the Senate Conservation Committee, but died on the calendar of the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 281 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard).
**HB 220: Determination of Discharge Effect on Water (McQueen)
HB 220 would have made technical changes to the law to clarify that discharges’ effect on ground water shall be determined at the place where the discharge enters groundwater, and state and federal groundwater standards shall apply throughout the aquifer affected by the discharge. This was a legislative fix for the “Copper Rule” which currently allows copper mines to exceed groundwater discharge limits. HB 220 died on the calendar of the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 221: Home Energy Efficiency Income Tax Credit (McQueen/Egolf)
HB 221 would have created a tax credit for individuals who make certain energy efficiency modifications to their homes, which would have incentivized conservation of energy. HB 221 passed the House 48-14 but died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
HB 233: Uranium Mine Cleanup Workforce Study (Johnson)
HB 233 would have appropriated $250,000 to research the economic effects associated with uranium mine cleanup, the capacity of the current labor force and the training needed for that labor force to engage in the cleanup. This bill was a first step toward cleaning up abandoned and inactive uranium mines. HB 233 was tabled and died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee because funds for this study had been appropriated in HB 2.
HB 249: Native American Voting Task Force (Lente)
HB 249 would have established the Native American voting task force, which was to make findings and recommendations to the Secretary of State regarding Native American voting education and information. This bill would have served to encourage voting by Native Americans throughout New Mexico. HB 249 was tabled and died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
HB 255: Mining Permit Corporate Guarantees (McQueen)
HB 255 required that financial assurance for mining operations must be filed by the original applicant and could not be a guaranteed by an affiliated corporation or person. The bill would have prevented the shifting of costs to affiliated entities who may have contested requirements for reclamation. HB 255 was pulled from the House Calendar and re-referred to the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee where it died on the calendar.
HB 263: State Game Commission Changes (McQueen)
HB 263 established requirements and qualifications for the members of the State Game Commission to lessen the politicization of the commission and established professional qualifications for four of the seven members. HB 263 passed the House 45-20 but was tabled and died in the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 281/SB 277: Strategic Water Reserve (Small; Neville/Stewart)
HB 281/SB 277 would have appropriated $5 million to the Interstate Stream Commission for the purpose of the strategic water reserve. The strategic water reserve is an important tool for helping the state to meet interstate water compact obligations, Endangered Species Act obligations and protect rural New Mexico communities that rely on robust in-stream flows. HB 281 was tabled at the request of the sponsor and died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. SB 277 died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
HB 283/SB 275: Increase Renewable Portfolio Standards (Small; Stewart/ Stefanics/Soules/Wirth)
HB 283/SB 275 would have increased the required amount of renewable energy that rural cooperatives and public utilities must use to provide electricity to their customers in a gradually increasing amount over the next 20-25 years. The bills established thresholds for the cost of renewable energy for the purpose of not unduly burdening the utilities in a given year but did not relieve them of the responsibility of meeting the standards in subsequent years. The bills required that rural cooperatives give customers the option of purchasing electricity generated by renewables. HB 283 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee (never heard). SB 275 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard). Note that SB 489, which includes renewable portfolio standards, did pass.
HB 284: Free Sunday State Park Admission (Herrera/A. Romero/L. Trujillo/D.Y. Gallegos/Akhil)
HB 284 provided New Mexico residents have free admission to state parks on Sundays. This would have promoted the use of state parks and alleviated some of the cost, protecting and expanding New Mexicans’ access to public lands. HB 284 passed the House 59-8 and passed the Senate Conservation Committee, but was heard, recommended for additional work and died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
HB 287: No Use of State Resources for Border Wall (Rubio)
HB 287 would have prohibited the use of state trust lands or state financial resources to build a border barrier, exempting barriers that would prevent the movement of livestock. A border barrier would have extreme impact on the movement of wildlife and would be prohibitively expensive to the state to fund any aspect of its construction. HB 287 passed the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee and died on the House Calendar.
HB 289: Fund Investment in Renewable Energy (Stapleton)
HB 289 provided that no less than one percent of the market value of the severance tax permanent fund be invested in New Mexico renewable energy. HB 289 passed the House 43-19 and passed the Senate Conservation Committee, but died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
HB 294/SB 140/SB 243: Licensure of Certain Motor Vehicle Dealers (Akhil; Ortiz y Pino/Tallman)
HB 294/SB 140/SB 243 would have amended the law to allow manufacturers of all-electric vehicles to sell vehicles directly to the public under certain circumstances. This bill would have made all-electric vehicles more accessible to the public which would have reduced air pollution. HB 294 died in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee (never heard). SB 140 was tabled and died in the Senate Public Affairs Committee. SB 243 died on the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee calendar.
HB 332: Special Method of Valuation for Certain Land (Gonzales/J. Trujillo/ Herrera; Cisneros/Wirth)
HB 332 would have valued unimproved land at 25 percent of its assessed value if the landowner developed a management plan, approved by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, that would have achieved agriculture and natural resource management priorities including: 1) forest management practices that reduce risks to timber resources and agricultural water supplies; 2) restoration of soil health and agricultural productivity; 3) water resource conservation; 4) protection of wildlife habitat; and 5) protection of sensitive lands, including erosive soils, wetlands and riparian areas. HB 332 was heard, recommended for additional work and died on the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee calendar.
HB 366: Wildlife Protection and Public Safety Act (McQueen/Chandler/Gonzales)
HB 366 prohibited the use of traps and poisons designed to kill animals on public land and established penalties for violations. HB 366 was tabled by the House for technical reasons and died there.
HB 381: Pollinator Protection License Plate (Thomson/Allison/Stansbury/Bash; Rue)
HB 381would have created a special license plate for pollinator protection. A portion of the funds raised would have been used to promote pollinator-friendly roadside and special plantings. HB 381 was passed by the House Transporation and Public Works Committee and the House Taxationa and Revenue committee, but died on the House Calendar. Note its companion, SB 234, did pass – see above.
HB 398/SB 500: Oil, Gas and Vented Gas Royalties (Lente; O’Neill)
HB 398 established a threshold over which oil and gas production is taxed at one fourth percent. The bill also established that vented and flared gas was subject to royalties. HB 398 was tabled and died in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee. SB 500 received a do pass in the Senate Conservation Committee, but the committee report was not filed and the bill was not referred to the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.
HB 417: Southwest NM Water Projects (McQueen/R. Martinez)
HB 417 would have appropriated (1) $12,000,000 to fully implement the Grant County regional water supply project providing bulk drinking water supplies to the communities of Hurley, North Hurley, Hanover, Bayard, Santa Clara, Silver City and intervening public drinking water systems; (2) $30,000,000 to implement water utilization projects in the southwest New Mexico water planning region that meet a water supply demand and comply with water trust board criteria for state funding and that are included in the approved infrastructure capital improvements plans for fiscal years 2020 through 2024; and (3) $12,000,000 to implement water utilization projects that will provide a new source of drinking water not derived from the Gila River for the city of Deming or other public water supply systems in Luna County from the New Mexico Unit Fund to the Interstate Stream Commission. These projects would have supplied peoples’ water needs without a costly and unnecessary diversion of the Gila River. HB 417 was tabled and died in the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.
HB 426: Renewable Energy Transmission Authority Study (Hochman-Vigil/Akhil/ Stansbury/Figueroa/Bash)
HB 426 would have appropriated $300,000 for the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority to conduct a study to assess transmission pathways, evaluate placement of renewable energy facilities and evaluate the adequacy of the transmission network. The bill required a report by March 2020 that included projected placement of solar and wind facilities, long and short-term storage facilities, adequacy of the transmission network and recommended additions to the transmission network, all with a projection of the next ten years. HB 426 passed the House 41-12 but died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
HB 432: Affordable Solar Energy Act (Herrera/Sanchez/Akhil/L. Trujillo/Chandler)
HB 432 would have allowed a utility to enter into a written on-bill financing agreement with a customer to finance the purchase and installation of a renewable energy system, energy efficiency device, energy storage device or energy conservation system in an occupied residence or building. The bill also provided reasonable safeguards for the customer and the utility. This is similar to the idea of PACE, except that instead of the financing being included with the property financing, it was instead included with the utility account. HB 432 passed the House 42-23 but died on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar.
HB 498: Abandoned Utility Facility and Funds (Allison)
HB 498 required a utility that closes a coal-fired energy generation plant to procure replacement facilities located in the school district where the closing facility is located. The bill required that when considering replacement facilities, the Public Regulation Commission would have preferred resources with the least environmental impacts, resources with higher ratios of capital costs to fuel costs and those able to reduce the cost of reclamation and use for lands previously mined within the county of the closing facility. The bill also established funds for and required plans for assisting those workers displaced by the closure. HB 498 was tabled and died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
HB 517: Acequia and Community Ditch Fund (A. Romero/Gonzales)
HB 517 would have established a dedicated fund to be used for maintenance of acequias and community ditches. It would have appropriated $2.5 million annually to be transferred from the New Mexico Irrigation Works Construction Fund. HB 517 passed the House Local Government, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee and the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, but died on the House Calendar.
HB 520: Property Tax on Certain Solar Systems (McQueen/Akhil)
HB 520 would have exempted solar systems installed on residences of less than 3,000 square feet from being taxed as tangible personal property. This would have encouraged middle and lower income households, who tend to have smaller homes, to adopt solar energy. HB 520 was tabled and died in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.
HB 547: Workforce Clean Energy Economy Study (Rubio/J. Martinez)
HB 547 would have required the Workforce Solutions Department to study the opportunities for and barriers to transitioning to a clean energy economy and produce a report on findings. The bill would have required that the department study this in low-income and rural communities and work with stakeholders in undertaking the study. The study and report would have addressed (1) solar, wind, solar thermal energy generation and other renewable energy resource generation; (2) expanding contracting for local small businesses in disadvantaged communities; (3) low-income individuals and communities accessing energy efficiency and weatherization programs, with special consideration given to disadvantaged communities; (4) low-income individuals and communities accessing zero emission transportation options, with special consideration given to disadvantaged communities; and (5) participation in outdoor recreation and public lands preservation. HB 547 was tabled and died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
HB 566: Hemp Research (R. Martinez/Lara/Small/Allison/Ferrary)
HB 566 would have authorized and regulated research on industrial hemp and would have removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances schedule, in accordance with bills passed in the 53rd Legislature. This bill would have facilitated the research on industrial hemp, an eco-friendly and drought tolerant crop, that would enable it to become a production crop in New Mexico. HB 566 died on the house Judiciary Committee calendar.
HB 593: Energy Storage System Tax Credit (Akhil/Sariñana/Small)
HB 593 would have allowed a taxpayer a tax credit for installing an energy storage system. The bill allowed a credit of 30% of the total cost or $5,000 for a private residence or $150,000 for a business, whichever is less. The purpose of the energy storage system income tax credit was to encourage research, development and installation of electricity storage facilities for renewable energy. HB 593 died on the House Taxation and Revenue Committee calendar.
HB 612: Motor Vehicle Tax for Electric Cars (Akhil//Ely/Small/Sariñana)
HB 612 would have exempted all-electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles from gross receipts and compensating tax until July 1, 2024. The bill would have incentivized purchase of lesser to non-polluting vehicles. HB 612 died on the House Taxation and Revenue Committee calendar.
HB 630: Denial of Certain Environmental Permits (Bash/Akhil/Roybal Caballero)
HB 630 would have allowed the Environmental Improvement Board or local board to deny any permit application for a construction project or revoke any permit issued pursuant to the Air Quality Control Act if the applicant or permittee had committed certain violations. This would have strengthened environmental controls as they relate to the Air Quality Act. HB 630 died on the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee calendar (never heard).
HB 637: Presumed Life of Electric Generating Plants (Louis)
HB 637 specified that any electric generating plant that emits more than 500 pounds or more of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every megawatt-hour of electricity produced would have a presumed end of useful life of December 31, 2039. The act did not preclude the Public Regulation Commission from determining that such a plant has reached the end of its useful life before that date. This would have encouraged the retirement of polluting electric generating plants. HB 637 passed the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee, but died on the House Calendar.
SB 33: High School Water Management Project (Padilla)
SB 33 would have created an elective high school course to teach students about water management and conservation. Water management and conservation are highly important conservation issues in New Mexico. This would have provided an early start to educate future professionals in the subject. SB 33 died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
SB 38: Wildlife Trafficking Act (Stewart; Chasey)
SB 38 would have made trafficking of animal species threatened with extinction a misdemeanor and established penalties and enforcement guidance. SB 38 passed the Senate 26-15, the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, but died on the House Calendar.
SB 39: Solar Market Development Tax Credit (Stewart)
SB 39 would have reinstated and extended the tax credit for residential and commercial construction of solar systems. While similar to a bill introduced in 2017, changes from that bill include a $6,000 tax credit rather than $10,000, along with a five year carry forward instead of 10. It also capped the program at $10 million rather than $5 million. SB 39 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee (never heard) – it was replaced by SB 518.
SB 45: Low-Income Energy Conservation Program (Martinez)
SB 45 would have made an appropriation to fund a residential energy conservation program to increase the energy efficiency and reduce energy expenditures of low-income households in New Mexico. SB 45 died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
SB 51: Renewable Energy Services – State Facilities (Steinborn)
SB 51 would have required the General Services Department to use rules, issue requests for proposals and acquire, where appropriate, renewable energy sources for state facilities. This would have increased renewable energy use in the state which would have reduced pollution and saved on operating expenses. SB 51 died in the Senate Conservation Committee; a motion to do pass failed.
SB 53: Accessible and Affordable State Parks (Steinborn)
SB 53 would have provided rulemaking authority to make state parks more affordable and accessible to all New Mexicans. This would have allowed more people to enjoy nature and outdoor activities. SB 53 passed the Senate 31-8 and passed the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, but died on the House Calendar.
SB 54: Radioactive Waste Oversight and Disposal (Steinborn)
SB 54 would have expanded the Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force to include a member from Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and expanded the definition of radioactive waste disposal facility to include privately operated disposal facilities, and would have ensured opportunities for state participation in all radioactive disposal projects in New Mexico. SB 54 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard).
SB 104: New Mexico Miners License Plate (Muñoz/Ramos)
SB 104 would have established a miners’ license plate to generate funding for research around chronic illnesses related to mining. The research is done in conjunction with UNM Health Sciences and the Miners’ Colfax Medical Center in Raton is the provider of services indicated by the research outcomes. SB 104 died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
SB 136: Efficient Use of Energy Act Amendments (Ortiz y Pino; A. Romero)
SB 136 established thresholds for energy efficiency programs which, at minimum, would have saved 5% of energy costs to customers. The bill also provided for the removal of regulatory disincentives to energy efficiency programs. SB 136 died on the House Calendar, however, its companion bill, HB 291 did pass both the House and Senate (see above).
SB 161: Renewable Energy Transmission Authority Funds (Tallman)
SB 161 would have appropriated $350,000 to the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) in 2020 and in subsequent years. This would have made renewable energy more accessible for more people by ensuring the RETA had funds to continue building transmission lines to serve the communities where they live. SB 161 died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
**SB 186: Oil Conservation Division Powers & Duties (Martinez; McQueen)
SB 186 would have allowed the Oil Conservation Division to, when responding to a violation of the Oil & Gas Act, issue a compliance order requiring compliance immediately or within a specified time period or assessing a civil penalty, or both. A compliance order may have also included a suspension or termination of the permit allegedly violated. It specified higher civil penalties for violation of the Act and specified penalties for the violation of a compliance order. It specified that a person knowingly violating the Act has committed a third degree felony. It further required the Oil Conservation Division to report on the number of violations annually. SB 186 died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar. However, its language and the policies it created were inserted into a House bill, which CVNM did not take a position on, and that bill passed both the House and Senate.
SB 195: Electric Vehicle Power as Public Utility (Woods)
SB 195 would have exempted facilities that solely provide electricity to charge electric vehicles from the definition of “public utility”. This was a practical measure to prevent over-regulation of electric vehicle charging stations. SB 195 was tabled indefinitely before it received a committee referral.
SB 218: Healthy Soil Act (Stefanics; Small)
SB 218 would have created a healthy soil program within the Department of Agriculture which would have promoted and supported farming and ranching systems and other forms of land management that increase soil organic matter, carbon content, aggregate stability, microbiology and water retention to improve the health, and yield and profitability of the soils of the state. SB 218 died on the Senate Conservation Committee calendar, however, its companion, HB 204, passed both the House and the Senate (see above).
SB 336: Electricity Distribution for Certain Vehicles (Sedillo Lopez)
SB 336 would have required public utilities to file applications to expand transportation electrification, i.e., charging facilities for electric vehicles. SB 336 made rules for the approval of these applications, including the facilities’ ability to meet clean air standards and inclusion of low-income people and communities. SB 336 died on the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee calendar, however, its companion, HB 521, passed both the House and the Senate (see above).
SB 357: Generation and Transmission Rate Protests (Cisneros)
SB 357 would have extended the requirement of an advice notice to be filed for a rate increase to transmission customers as well as utilities who are members of utility cooperatives. It provided that transmission customers may protest the proposed rate and reduced the number of just cause protests required for suspending rates to just one. SB 357 died on the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee calendar.
SB 361: Limit Use of Oil & Gas Fund for Salaries (Muñoz)
SB 361 would have limited the use of the Oil & Gas Reclamation Fund for Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) salaries. The Oil & Gas Reclamation Fund is specifically for reclaiming lands affected by oil and gas operations. SB 361 passed the Senate 39-1 and passed the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, but died on the House Calendar.
SB 374: Local Choice Energy Act (Steinborn/Shendo)
SB 374 would have allowed municipalities, counties and Indian nations, tribes or pueblos to operate energy generating facilities and sell energy to local customers. Customers would have had to opt out of local utilities to remain with a public, investor-owned, energy provider. SB 374 would have allowed customers choice of electric providers, would have made it more likely they would subscribe to renewable energy and would have reduced cost to consumers. SB 374 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard).
SB 417: State Game Commission Purpose & Species (Steinborn)
SB 417 redefined the purpose of the state game commission as to manage and protect all wildlife, not just game species. SB 417 specified that management and protection of species not required by statute was contingent on sufficient resources and that the Department of Game and Fish was not required to respond to or mitigate property damage caused by wildlife unless it adopted rules to do so or was otherwise required by law. SB 417 was tabled and died in the Senate Conservation Committee.
SB 456: Electric Utility Resource Procurement (Cervantes; Akhil/A. Romero)
SB 456 specified rules for procurement of sources of electricity generation. It specified that sources may be independently owned. It also required an independent evaluator to monitor the procurement process in the case of a new source of electricity. SB 456 died in the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee on a do pass motion that failed.
SB 468: Clean Energy for New Generation Facilities (Soules)
SB 468 required that facilities constructed for new or replacement energy generation capacity should only generate clean energy. The bill defined clean energy as energy generated from solar heat, solar light, wind, geothermal reservoirs, carbon capture gas, biomass or hydropower. SB 468 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard).
SB 475: Request EMNRD to Draft Carbon Tax (Soules)
SB 475 would have appropriated $250,000 for the purpose of drafting proposed legislation implementing a comprehensive carbon tax program in New Mexico. SB 475 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard).
SB 518: New Solar Market Development Tax Credit (Stewart)
SB 518 allowed a taxpayer a tax credit for installing a solar photovoltaic or thermal system. This bill allowed a 10% credit up to $6,000 with a five year carry forward and established an aggregate cap of $10 million per year and was sunset in 2029. SB 518 passed the Senate 29-12 and passed the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, but died on the House Calendar.
SB 537: PRC Commissioner Continuing Education (Neville/Wirth)
SB 537 specified that Public Regulation Commissioners’ continuing education courses may be completed in person or online and will be endorsed by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, or also by a university, nonprofit organization or trade organization recognized nationally in an area relevant to the work of the commission. This would have given PRC commissioners a little more flexibility in their choices and completion of continuing education. SB 537 died on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar.
SB 558: Middle Rio Grande Water Management (Sedillo Lopez)
SB 558 directed the State Engineer and the Interstate Stream Commission and an entity to be created to create a water plan for the Middle Rio Grande that would maintain New Mexico’s compliance with the Rio Grande compact, provide for a more certain water future and prevent a possible requirement to implement strict priority enforcement of all water rights and permits. This bill would have required the State Engineer to work with all stakeholders to create a workable plan and required reporting to the legislature. The bill provided an appropriation to fund these activities. SB 558 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard).
SB 560: Interstate Stream Commission Water Planning (Sedillo Lopez)
SB 560 directed the Interstate Stream Commission to coordinate and effect water planning for all the regions of New Mexico to protect and extend water supplies and to make water usage in the state more resilient. The bill provided for meeting the requirements of interstate compacts, needs of water users and stewardship of the environment. SB 560 was tabled with the sponsor’s agreement and died in the Senate Conservation Committee.
SB 607: Liquid Waste Funds Changes (Cisneros)
SB 607 specified that unexpended money in the liquid waste fund may be transferred to the liquid waste disposal system assistance fund, which would have helped low-income people install better liquid waste disposal systems where there was a real or potential negative impact to public health or water quality from on-site liquid waste disposal system effluent. SB 607 died on the Senate Finance Committee calendar.
SB 623: Renewable Energy Transmission Authority Costs (Stefanics)
SB 623 would have allowed the use of the Public Revolving Fund to fund the operating costs of the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA). This bill would have removed the uncertainty of recurring appropriations requests for the RETA. SB 623 died in the Senate Conservation Committee (never heard).
4. Anti-Conservation legislation that passed
A number of measures posed great risks to New Mexico’s natural resources – by subsidizing polluters, removing regulations, or encouraging activities that threaten our environment. We urged all of our Representatives and Senators to OPPOSE these bills, and we are pleased to report that they were all DEFEATED.
5. Anti-Conservation legislation that didn’t pass
HB 286: Public-Private Partnerships Act (Lundstrom/Gonzales/J.Trujillo/Powdrell-Culbert; Sanchez)
HB 286 provided for a board and funding for the purpose of reviewing and establishing partnerships between private entities and governmental entities. These partnerships would have allowed private entities to construct public works projects which normally would be constructed by governmental entities and be subject to the procurement code and state transparency and public participation requirements. There have been many examples of privately constructed public works project failing or coming in far over budget and resulting in government partners having to take over at large expense, therefore, we opposed this bill. HB 286 was tabled at the request of the sponsor in the House Local Government, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
HB 288: Rural Infrastructure Tax Credit (Johnson/Lundstrom)
HB 288 would have given a tax credit to people investing in rural infrastructure, whose investment would have stimulated economic development by providing gap funding for manufacturers, processors and natural resource extractors; encouraged private investment in manufacturing facilities; given rural communities an advantage in attracting investment by private industry; and promoted job creation. While promoting job creation in rural areas is a good thing, this raised concern that it would encourage rural sprawl and spread of extractive industries in rural areas. Also, since the infrastructure projects would likely have been designed primarily to serve private financial interests, they might have conflicted or competed with public interests, e.g., roads, pipelines, utility infrastructure through culturally important areas. HB 288 died in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee (never heard).
HB 347: Coal Sales & Processing Gross Receipts (Strickler/Alcon/Garcia/ Allison/Bandy)
HB 347 would have lowered the amount of gross receipts tax charged on the sale and processing of coal. It would have encouraged production of coal, a polluting fuel source, and propped up a polluting industry at the expense of taxpayers. HB 347 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee on a do pass motion that failed.
HB 353: Reduce Certain Oil & Gas Tax Rates (Strickler/Scott/Nibert/Brown/Bandy)
HB 353 reduced the tax rate for oil produced from a low production “stripper” well by specifying the baseline cost of a barrel of oil used to calculate the rate at which it is taxed and reduced the tax on what is valued below that baseline. The oil and gas industry does not need additional tax payer funded tax breaks to be profitable. HB 353 was tabled and died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
HB 373: New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity (G. Armstrong/Sweetser/Dow; Ramos)
HB 373 would have created the New Mexico Central Arizona Project entity, along the same boundaries of Catron, Hidalgo, Luna and Grant counties. It would have given the entity authority to plan, design, build, operate and maintain the New Mexico unit of the Central Arizona Project water projects and would have given it bonding authority. This would have helped reinforce the authority of the NM Cap Entity, thereby creating a more robust (and potentially un-needed) agency to carry out an underfunded, unnecessary and unpopular diversion project on the Gila River, even though it would not have had the authority to plan it independently. HB 373 was tabled and died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
HB 471: Uniform Environmental Covenants Act (Cook)
HB 471 specified rules for environmental covenants on properties. Environmental covenants are use restrictions on polluted land to allow it be developed or otherwise used. This bill made no special provision for polluted properties whose contamination is polluting either ground or surface water. Because of the very limited supply of water in New Mexico, and, because about 80 – 90% of New Mexicans obtain their drinking water from ground water, the proposed legislation should have, but did not make clear that environmental covenants may not be used to avoid efforts to remediate contaminated water, particularly if the polluted water is ground water. HB 471 died on the House Judiciary Committee calendar.
HB 604: Utility Securitization Bond Act (Montoya/Strickler/Bandy/Gallegos)
HB 604 would have allowed a utility to apply for a financing order to issue bonds to recover the costs of closing a coal fired electricity generating facility. The bill allowed the utility to recover the net present value of the facility and the costs of its replacement. This amount of recovery is much higher than that specified in SB 489 and could have caused undue hardship on ratepayers. HB 604 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee (never heard).
SB 232: Public Record Requests Costs and Procedures (Woods)
SB 232 would have required a service fee and a fee for time, materials, equipment and personnel as well as a fee for the value of the reproduction of data on the commercial market for any records request intended for commercial use. It also provided that a public body could recover court costs and attorney fees if a requester files in court for the records if the request is found to be frivolous. It provided for penalties if the commercial purpose of the request is not disclosed and further prohibited certain requests from inmates of correctional facilities. This bill would have stifled the transparency and availability of public information. SB 232 was heavily amended until it merely gave a public body a reasonable amount of time (45 days) to respond to a request and allowed an extension if the request was an undue hardship. It died on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar.
SB 499: Climate Change Compliance Tax Credits (Sharer)
SB 499 would have allowed a taxpayer who is subject to the Severance Tax Act, Oil and Gas Severance Tax Act, Oil and Gas Conservation Tax Act, Oil and Gas Emergency School Tax Act, Natural Gas Processors Tax Act or Oil and Gas Ad Valorem Production Tax to take a tax credit for costs incurred to comply with executive order 2019-003, which addressed climate change and ordered that the state will take measures to support the 2015 Paris Agreement Goals. SB 499 died on the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee calendar.
SJR 17: Right to Hunt & Fish, CA (Pirtle)
SJR 17 proposed a constitutional amendment that would ensure people’s right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife with traditional methods, subject to regulations by the state game commission. CVNM contends this is government overreach. People can hunt and fish without a constitutional amendment to enable those activities. It could have also guaranteed the right to trapping using traditional methods. SJR 17 was tabled indefinitely prior to being heard in the Senate Rules Committee.