Gov. Martinez had until Wednesday, March 7 to act on bills that reached her desk, including the state budget. Here are the outcomes of the bills and appropriations we supported and opposed during the legislative session:
- Martinez line-item vetoed $220,000 from the budget for the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority operating costs in 2019. This action is so short-sighted and out of step with New Mexicans who know that renewable energy is key to our state’s future. Transmission is still needed to fully realize New Mexico’s clean energy potential.
- Martinez line-item vetoed $200,000 from the budget to study the education and training programs necessary to build a workforce to meet the demand for uranium site clean-up. This veto shows a shameful disregard for the communities who have been impacted by this dangerous waste for decades.
Good government legislation that passed but vetoed
- Martinez vetoed Lobbyist Reporting Changes (Senate Bill 67) SB 67 would have made 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 have ensured more government transparency, including on conservation issues. SB 67 passed the Senate 37-0 and passed the House 62-0.
While these actions are disappointing and detrimental to New Mexico’s future, there is some good news:
Pro-conservation legislation that passed and was enacted:
- Martinez signed the Local Election Act (House Bill 98) HB 98 enacts 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.
- Martinez signed False Statements to NMED (House Bill 142) 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 will protect the public safety in monitoring public water systems. HB 142 passed the House 65-0 and passed the Senate 38-1.
- Martinez signed Assurance for Plugging Oil & Gas Wells (Senate Bill 189) 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.
Please reach out to Gov. Martinez’s office and let her know what you think about these actions. She’s term limited and won’t be in office in 2019, but it’s important that we hold her feet to the fire until her very last day in office. Call her office at 505-476-2200.