CVNM’s 2018 Legislative Session Outcomes

This memo is divided into six sections:

  1. Pro-Conservation legislation that passed
  2. Pro-Conservation legislation that didn’t pass
  3. Anti-Conservation legislation that passed
  4. Anti-Conservation legislation that didn’t pass
  5. Neutral legislation that passed
  6. Neutral legislation that did not pass

**Starred bills are high-priority. Votes on these measures may be weighted on CVNM’s Scorecard.

1. Pro-Conservation legislation that passed

HB 98: Local Election Act (Bandy/Ivey-Soto/Ja. Smith)
HB 98 proposes scheduling changes to elections so that local elections occur at the same time as general elections. It also makes provisions for certain elections to be conducted by mail ballot and prohibits advisory-only questions on ballots. Having all elections scheduled together would most likely result in higher turnout for local elections, resulting in more accurate representation of voters’ support for conservation issues. HB 98 passed the House 51-10 and passed the Senate 25-15. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

HB 142: False Statements to NMED (Small)
HB 142, after being amended in House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, makes it a misdemeanor for operators of public water systems to make false statements or falsify testing results in reporting to the Environment Department. This would protect the public safety in monitoring public water systems. HB 142 passed the House 65-0 and passed the Senate 38-1. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

SB 67: Lobbyist Reporting Changes (Ivey-Soto/Ja. Smith)
SB 67 makes changes to lobbyist reporting to require reporting of an aggregate amount of all expenditures less than $100 and separating those expenditures into relevant categories. It would ensure more government transparency, including on conservation issues. SB 67 passed the Senate 37-0 and passed the House 62-0. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

SB 79: Solar Market Development Tax Credit (Stewart)
SB 79 allows taxpayers to take up to a 10% tax credit for installing thermal or photovoltaic solar systems, for both residential and business installations. It establishes a $5 million aggregate cap for the amount of tax credits taken in a year, but does not separate out residential and business installations. It is simpler than HB 36, and accomplishes the same goal of promoting the use of renewable energy. SB 79 passed the Senate 35-6 and passed the House 40-26. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

**SB 189: Assurance for Plugging Oil & Gas Wells (Martinez)
SB 189 increases the cap of the amount of the surety bond a company must post for the plugging of an inactive oil or gas well from $50,000 to $250,000. This increased amount is more in line with the cost of plugging a well and remediating a plugged well that leaks, blows out or otherwise fails. SB 189 passed the Senate 40-0 and passed the House 54-11. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

2. Pro-Conservation legislation that didn’t pass

HB 36: Reinstate Solar Market Development Tax Credit (Ca. Trujillo/Ruiloba/ Rodella)
HB 36 would have reinstated the state’s solar tax credit and would have stimulated the adoption of clean energy solutions for residences and businesses in New Mexico. It would have allowed taxpayers to take up to a 10% tax credit for installing thermal or photovoltaic solar systems for both residences and businesses. It established aggregate caps for the amount of tax credits taken in a year. HB 36 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

HB 77: Energy Storage System Tax Credits (Sariñana)
HB 77 would have established a tax credit for consumers and for businesses who installed a storage system for electricity generated by renewable resources. The bill established a cap for the amount of the tax credit, the aggregate amount of tax credits per year, and would have expired at the end of 2024. This bill, if passed, would have incentivized the development of electricity storage technologies and helped to expand the use of renewable resources for energy production. HB 77 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

HB 87: Solar Market Development Tax Credit (Ca. Trujillo/Ruiloba/Rodella)
HB 87 would have allowed taxpayers to take up to a 10% tax credit for installing thermal or photovoltaic solar systems, for both residential and business installations. It established a $5 million aggregate cap for the amount of tax credits taken in a year, but did not separate out residential and business installations. It was simpler than HB 36, but would have accomplished the same goal of promoting the use of renewable energy. HB 87 died in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee. (Its companion, SB 79, passed both the House and the Senate – see above.)

HB 109: Public Corruption Act (McQueen/Moores)
HB 109 would have withdrawn or terminated retirement benefits for public officials who were convicted or pled no contest to felony acts of corruption. It would have served to discourage corruption in government, including areas of government that have conservation impact. HB 109 passed the House 61-7 and died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 111: Elected Official Forfeiture of Service Credit (McQueen/Moores)
HB 111 would have withdrawn service credit towards retirement for public officials who were convicted or pled no contest to felony acts of corruption. It would have served to discourage corruption in government, including areas of government that have conservation impact. HB 111 died in the House Judiciary Committee.

**HB 127/SB 72: NM Unit Fund Water Projects (Ro. Martinez/McCamley; Morales)
HB 127/ SB 72 would have made appropriations from the New Mexico Unit Fund to the Interstate Stream Commission for shovel-ready water projects in southwest New Mexico that were alternatives to a Gila River diversion, including: $12 million for bulk water supplies to Hurley, Bayard, Santa Clara and Silver City; $34 million for water supply projects in the southwest New Mexico regional water planning area; $3.5 million to contract for collection of new ground water and geologic data; and $500,000 to evaluate and plan alternatives for the city of Deming for a remote well field. HB 127 died in the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee. SB 72 died in the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 138: No State Land For Border Wall (McCamley/L. Trujillo/Ch. Trujillo)
HB 138 would have prohibited a border wall from being built on state land between NM and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora. A border wall would be detrimental to the migration of wildlife in the border region. It is possible that there are species of concern that would particularly be impacted, e.g., jaguars. HB 138 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

HB 163: Unimproved Land Property Tax Valuation (Gentry/Gonzales/ Wirth/Neville)
HB 163 would have allowed a land owner to take land valued as agricultural land out of agricultural production and leave it as open space, subject to a land management plan. The open space land then would have been valued more than the agricultural value, but not valued at the much higher developed land rate. This would have allowed a land owner to preserve the land for future agricultural use should they or their successors have wished to return it to production, rather than being economically forced to sell off or develop the land, thus contributing to rural sprawl. HB 163 died in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee.

HB 196: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Bonding Changes (McCamley)
HB 196 would have allowed for audits of state-owned buildings for energy efficiency and issuance of bonds for installation of energy saving features. These features would have decreased the energy needed to maintain state-owned buildings and produced cost savings that would have been fed back into the general fund. HB 196 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

HB 208/SB 251: Study Workforce Training & Education (Johnson/Alcon/H. Garcia/ Thomson/Lundstrom; Pinto)
HB 208/SB 251 would have appropriated $250K to study the education and training programs necessary to build a workforce to meet the demand for uranium site clean-up. While this bill did not pass, the budget that passed contained funding for this item at a level of $200K, ensuring that this important training component is sufficiently studied. HB 208 died in the House Appropriation and Finance Committee. SB 251 died in the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 247: Exclude Greenfields From TIDD Act (Romero/Lente)
HB 247 would have disallowed the use of tax increment development districts (TIDDs) for development of undeveloped “greenfield” land (land which is not developed, not served by infrastructure and would require building of improvements to develop). While CVNM is not specifically opposed to TIDDs on their own, their use to finance sprawl type developments should be curtailed. HB 247 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

HB 248: Utility Net Metering Aggregate Rulemaking (Romero)
HB 248 would have allowed the use of an aggregated net metering system for electrical billing, where metered electricity generated by an electric customer from a renewable energy source interconnected with the public utility’s distribution system would offset the aggregate electricity provided by the public utility. This technology incentivizes the use of renewable energy by electric customers. HB 248 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

HJR 4: State Redistricting Commission, CA (Ca. Trujillo/Maestas-Barnes/Moores/McSorley/Ivey-Soto)
HJR 4 would have established a redistricting commission to define senatorial and representative districts that to the extent practicable, contain contiguous territory, respect communities of interest, have boundaries that respect established political boundaries and follow visible geographic features. It would have served to ensure more even representation in government and potentially positively affected conservation goals. HJR 4 died in House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee.

HJM 6: VW Settlement Funds for Electric School Buses (Roybal Caballero/Lopez)
HJM 6 was a joint memorial that requested that the state’s $18 million Volkswagen settlement funds be used to acquire electric school buses, as diesel school bus emissions negatively affect the health of children and communities. HJM 6 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

HJM 15: VW Settlement Funds for Electric Vehicles (Small)
HJM 15 is like HJM 6, but expands the pool of vehicles to be purchased to medium and heavy duty vehicles with an emphasis on vehicles used in transit systems. The measure would also include expanding the system of charging stations for electric vehicles. HJM 15 died on the House Calendar.

SB 7: Renewable Energy For State Facilities (Steinborn)
SB 7 would have established rules for and mandated the acquisition of renewable energy resources (such as solar) for state owned buildings where it is economically feasible to do so. This would have served to reduce the state government’s carbon footprint and produce revenue savings by substituting less expensive renewable energy for current sources. SB 7 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

SB 54: Capital Outlay Project Publication (Rue)
SB 54 would have required the publishing of all capital outlay projects that are approved and appropriated funding on the legislative website, in a user-friendly format with specific details for each project. It would have allowed the public to keep track of capital outlay projects, including those that affect conservation and the environment. SB 54 died in the Senate Finance Committee.

SB 80: Water System Statements to Environment Dept. (Griggs)
SB 80 would have made it a felony, later amended to a misdemeanor, for operators of public water systems to make false statements or falsify testing results in reporting to the Environment Department. This would have protected the public safety in monitoring public water systems. SB 80 died in Senate Finance Committee. (Its companion, HB 142, passed both the House and the Senate – see above.)

SB 82: Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (Tallman)
SB 82 would have appropriated $250,000 to the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA). CVNM supported this appropriation because additional renewable energy transmission is still needed to fully realize New Mexico’s clean energy potential. A smaller appropriation of $100,000 was included in the budget passed by the legislature. We urge the legislature to fully fund RETA in the future. SB 82 died in the Senate Finance Committee.

SB 90: Financial Services Campaign Contributions (Lopez)
SB 90 would have prohibited a financial services contractor to a state or local government agency from making political contributions to a public officer or employee of that agency who is responsible for the issuance of bonds or investment of public money. This would have applied to all agencies, including those that regulate environmental issues. SB 90 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

SB 107: Post-Session Lobbying Report (Steinborn)
SB 107 would have required lobbyists to report on which legislation they lobbied in their post-session lobbying report. This would have resulted in greater transparency in government, including on conservation issues. SB 107 died in the Senate Rules Committee.

SB 118: Residential Energy Conservation Program (Martinez)
SB 118 would have made an appropriation to expand an energy conservation program to more low-income New Mexico residents. This expansion would have helped more low income people save on their energy bills and would have helped save energy resources. SB 118 died in the Senate Finance Committee.

SB 194: No Oil & Gas Fund Use for Salaries (Muñoz)
SB 194 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 194 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

SB 265: State Engineer Requirements (Cervantes)
SB 265 proposed the additional requirement that the State Engineer be a licensed attorney with water law experience. This requirement would have brought the State Engineer’s experience to be more in line with the responsibilities of the job. SB 265 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

SJR 5: Register All Qualified Electors to Vote, CA (Ivey-Soto)
SJR 5 would have caused all people who are not otherwise restricted from voting by statute to be automatically registered to vote, unless they specifically affirmed that they did not want to be registered to vote. This would have removed barriers to people participating in the democratic process. Ensuring that every citizen’s voice is heard is crucial for the sake of our air, land and water and communities. SJR 5 died in the Senate Rules Committee.

SCR 1: Electronic Submission of Public Comment (Candelaria)
SCR 1 would have established a system for electronically submitting and storing of public comment to standing committees during the legislative session. This system would have allowed more people to comment on legislation without needing to travel, often for long distances and at considerable expense, to Santa Fe, and would have ensured more voices of our state were heard. SCR 1 died in the Senate Finance Committee.

SM 112: VW Settlement Funds for Electric School Buses (Lopez)
SM 112 was a memorial (a companion to HJM 6) that requested that the state’s $18 million Volkswagen settlement funds be used to acquire electric school buses, as diesel school bus emit nitrogen oxides, which can negatively affect the health of children and communities. SM 112 died on the Senate Calendar.

3. 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 except for one memorial.

HM 41: Escalante Generation Station Job Growth (H. Garcia/Alcon/Lundstrom/ Johnson)
HM 41 mandates the Economic Development Department, the Workforce Solutions Department and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department study and report the possibility of co-locating businesses and industry, including public-private partnerships, with the Escalante Generation Station, a coal fired plant, to enhance local jobs. There are many other ways to generate local jobs without tying them to a highly polluting plant that would be dangerous for workers’ health. HM 41 passed the House 65-0. Memorials and resolutions do not require action by the governor.

5. Anti-Conservation legislation that didn’t pass

HB 72/SB 12: Public Utility Title Conveyance (Bandy; Neville)
HB 72/SB 12 would have allowed a public utility to sell a coal-fired energy facility for a nominal amount to another public utility and exempted such a sale from the regulation of the Public Regulation Commission (PRC). This would have allowed an unregulated and unprofitable transfer of title of dirty energy facilities while removing PRC review. It would have perpetuated the use of dirty energy without demonstrable economic benefit to rate payers. HB 72/SB12 were not acted upon because they were not ruled germane.

HB 73/SB 9: Economic Impact of Utility Abandonment (Bandy; Neville)
HB 73/SB 9 would have required the PRC to conduct an evidence-based study on the economic impacts of closing an energy-producing plant to the communities in the area of the facility being considered for closure. This mandate would have required the PRC to undertake impact analysis that it already has the authority to do. These bills appeared to be aimed at making it more difficult to close coal based energy facilities. HB 73/SB 9 were not acted upon because they were not ruled germane.

**HB 80/SB 47: Energy Redevelopment Bond Act (Gonzales/Montoya; Candelaria/Neville)
HB 80/SB 47 would have allowed a qualifying public utility to seek a financial order from the PRC allowing it to issue “energy redevelopment bonds” to offset the costs of abandoning a coal-fired energy generating facility and replacing it with other energy generating facilities, and established that the cost of those bonds may be passed through to the utilities’ customers. It would have allowed PNM to recoup 100% of the cost of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station, would not have required them to replace its function with a facility using renewable energy, and would have allowed them to pass costs on to ratepayers. The measure also represented a significant end-run around the PRC, the body intended to regulate electric utilities.

SB 47 was replaced by a Senate Conservation Committee sub. The sub included ambitious renewable energy targets, but continued to fall short on guarantees of ratepayer protection, PRC review, closure of the coal plant, and protection of free market competition in the renewable energy sector.

HB 325, a dummy bill, was filed late in the session and attempted to address some of the issues addressed in SB 47. To read more about HB 325, visit our website at www.CVNM.org. HB 80 died in House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee. SB 47 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.

HB 121/SB 66: Oil & Gas Fund to Carlsbad Brine Well Fund (Brown; Leavell)
HB 121/SB 66 would have appropriated $2 million annually from the Oil Reclamation Fund, which is intended for plugging and remediation of oil wells, to remediate the Carlsbad brine well. While CVNM acknowledges the need for remediation for the Carlsbad Brine Well, we opposed this bill on the grounds that using other environmental clean-up funds for this purpose would have simply created new remediation and clean up needs elsewhere. HB 121 died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. SB 66 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.

HB 123/SB 63: Water Fund Money to Carlsbad Brine Well Fund (Brown; Leavell)
HB 123/SB 63 would have appropriated $1.5 million from the Water Project Fund, which is intended to fund water projects, to remediate the Carlsbad brine well. While CVNM acknowledges the need for remediation for the Carlsbad Brine Well, we opposed this bill on the grounds that using the water fund is inappropriate, given the types of projects that the Water Project Fund is intended to be used for. Repurposing Water Project Funds would have degraded the state’s ability to manage its scarce water resources effectively. HB 123 died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. SB 63 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.

HB 125/SB 62: Corrective Fund to Carlsbad Brine Well Fund (Brown; Leavell)
HB 125/SB 62 would have appropriated $3 million from the corrective action fund, which normally funds remediation of environmental contamination by storage tanks, to remediate the Carlsbad Brine Well. While CVNM acknowledges the need for remediation for the Carlsbad Brine Well, we opposed this bill on the grounds that using other environmental clean-up funds would have simply created new remediation and clean up needs elsewhere. HB 125 died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. SB 62 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.

HB 126/SB 65: Oil & Gas Fund to Carlsbad Brine Well Fund (Brown; Leavell)
HB 126/SB 65 would have appropriated 2/19ths of the receipts from the Oil & Gas Conservation Tax to remediate the Carlsbad Brine Well. While CVNM acknowledges the need for remediation for the Carlsbad Brine Well, we opposed this bill on the grounds that using other environmental clean-up funds would have simply created new remediation and clean-up needs elsewhere. HB 126 died in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. SB 65 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.

HB 161: Agriculture & Vegetable Seed Law Preemption (Rehm/Hall)
HB 161 would have prohibited local governments from creating and enforcing ordinances affecting agricultural or vegetable seeds (state preemption). This would have removed local control of agricultural products and interfered with culturally significant agricultural practices. HB 161 died in the House State Government, Indian and Veteran’s Affairs Committee.

HB 220: Reduce Various Coal Taxes (Strickler/Alcon/H. Garcia)
HB 220 would have allowed a deduction on the gross receipts tax on coal and lowered the severance tax on the extraction of coal until 2031. This would have propped up dirty energy profits without addressing the impending economic and employment impacts of coal plant closure, all at the expense of taxpayers. HB 220 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

HJR 8: Appointed PRC Commissioners, CA (Ca. Trujillo/Montoya)
HJR 8 would have established a nominating committee to nominate PRC commissioners to the Governor, who would have then appointed five commissioners from the pool of candidates. The nominating committee would have been 3 people appointed by the House Speaker, 3 people appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate, and 4 retired judges with experience hearing rate setting or PRC appeals appointed by the Chief Justice. This could have had the effect of overly politicizing the PRC. CVNM believes the PRC should be elected. HJR 8 died in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee.

HM 18/SM 9: Restoration of NM Water Rights (G. Armstrong/Dow; Woods)
HM 18/SM 9 expressed support for retaining water by the Gila River diversion project. There are many other ways to utilize this water without an expensive diversion project that would cost more and serve less people than alternatives also being considered by the Legislature. HM 18 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. SM 9 died in the Senate Rules Committee.

**SB 134: Transfer of Public Lands Act (Pirtle)
SB 134 would have caused Federal lands not already designated as national parks, monuments, or wilderness to be transferred to State control. It would have opened currently Federally protected lands to development including extractive industries. This was a severe and likely unconstitutional overreach by the State. SB 134 was not acted upon because it was not ruled germane.

SB 135: Oil & Gas Act Penalties & Protests (Ivey-Soto)
SB 135 would have amended the Oil & Gas Act to allow the imposition of civil penalties, established the penalties and provided a method for appeal of those penalties. It changed criminal to civil penalties in the event of a violation of the Oil & Gas Act, making violations reasonably enforceable. However, it only provided for a $1000 per day penalty with a $25,000 cap, so was unlikely to be an effective tool to protect land, air, water and communities that are negatively impacted by violations of the Oil & Gas Act. SB 135 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SJR 12: Right to Hunt & Fish, CA (Muñoz)
SJR 12 proposed a constitutional amendment that would ensure peoples’ right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife with traditional methods, subject to regulations by the state game and fish department. This would have been government over-reach. People can hunt and fish without a constitutional amendment to enable those activities. This resolution could have also guaranteed the right to inhumane trapping using traditional methods. SJR 12 died in the Senate Rules Committee.

6. Neutral legislation that passed

HB 66: Wastewater Facility Construction Loans (Crowder
)
HB 66 clarifies the Wastewater Facility Construction Loan Act and defines “eligible project” and “qualified borrower.” This bill expands the definition of “qualified borrower” to any entity deemed capable of paying back the loan (beyond state, interstate and local authorities.) This could have created public-private partnerships where private companies build and maintain public facilities, however, the bill was amended to prevent this from happening in the future, so CVNM changed our position on this bill to neutral. HB 66 passed the House 66-0 and passed the Senate 36-0. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

6. Neutral legislation that didn’t pass

HB 124/SB 64: Road Fund to Carlsbad Brine Well Fund (Brown; Leavell)
HB 124/SB 64 would have appropriated $1M from the road fund to remediate the Carlsbad brine well to maintain the integrity of adjacent roads. As any collapse of the brine well would have immediate impact on adjacent roads, CVNM is took a neutral stance on this use of the road fund. HB 124 was not heard at the request of the sponsor. SB 64 died in the Senate Conservation Committee.

SB 40: Wastewater Project Funding Eligibility ( Martinez /Rodella)
SB 40 clarified the Wastewater Facility Construction Loan Act and defined “eligible project” and “qualified borrower.” This bill expanded the definition of “qualified borrower” to any entity deemed capable of paying back the loan (beyond state, interstate and local authorities.) This could have created public-private partnerships where private companies build and maintain public facilities, however, the bill was amended to prevent this from happening in the future, so CVNM changed our position on this bill to neutral. SB 40 died in the House Judiciary Committee. (Its companion, HB 66, passed the House and the Senate – see above.)

Read our 2017 Legislative Outcomes report here.>>

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