Here’s what happened with notable legislation during the 30-day session that ended Thursday.
Budget: Lawmakers got the job done with about a day to spare. They approved a nearly $8.5 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2023, a 14% increase from the current fiscal year, with increases for all state workers, including including teachers, state police and judges. The budget also includes funds to raise the minimum wage for state employees to $15 an hour.
Tax reductions: House Bill 163 crossed the finish line late. Bill exempts Social Security earnings from state personal income tax and cuts New Mexico’s gross receipts tax rate by 0.025% over two years — Governor Michelle’s priorities Lujan Grisham. It also includes tax refunds of up to $500, a child tax credit and tax exemptions for military veterans and nurses who work at least 30 hours in hospitals.
Education: Lawmakers unanimously approved Senate Bill 1, which would raise the minimum wage at each level of the state’s three-tier teacher licensing system by $10,000. This means that entry-level teachers will see their salary increase from $40,000 to $50,000. The measure aims to address a crisis-level teacher shortage.
Although not unanimous, Senate Bill 140, which would expand eligibility for the New Mexico Scholarship, also allowed both chambers with bipartisan support. The scholarship provides full tuition and fee coverage for New Mexico students attending colleges and universities in the state.
Native American language and culture teachers would earn the same salary as mid-level educators in the state’s three-tier licensing system under House Bill 60, which was unanimously approved by both houses.
Criminality: Lawmakers have approved a sweeping crime bill that provides tougher penalties for violent offenders and recruitment and retention stipends for police officers. House Bill 68 also removes the statute of limitations for second-degree murder charges, creates the felony of operating a chop shop and makes it a fourth-degree felony to threaten a judge or family. of a judge.
The governor had pushed for a measure to change the state’s pretrial detention process, placing the burden on defendants to prove they no longer pose a risk of violence if released until trial. This measure failed to gain traction.
Senate Democrats have passed a controversial proposal to ban life without the possibility of parole as a sentencing option for minors convicted of first-degree murder. But Senate Bill 43, which critics opposed, ran counter to the governor’s tough-on-crime agenda, withdrew the legislation from scrutiny amid backlash from some district attorneys.
House Bill 9, the Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act, which would have held gun owners liable if a child had access to their gun, was blocked by a House committee.
Both houses unanimously approved Senate Bill 13, which would create the position of a Missing Indigenous Persons Specialist in the Attorney General’s Office who would work with law enforcement on such cases. A related bill, Senate Bill 12, which creates a Missing in New Mexico event to support residents who have missing relatives, also received unanimous support.
Fentanyl, an opioid, has become one of the leading killers of adults. Lawmakers proposing House Bill 52 – another winner – argued to prevent this by decriminalizing the use and possession of test strips used to determine if the drug is hiding in other substances.
Right to vote: A sweeping Voting Rights Bill aimed at expanding voter access to the polls was a key priority for Lujan Grisham and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. Despite several changes to the measure, Senate Bill 144 failed in the final hours. Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, prevented a vote on the Senate floor via a one-man filibuster.
Hydrogen Hub: Lujan Grisham has championed a bill to turn New Mexico into a hydrogen production hub. An early bill creating a framework and incentives for the new industry was blocked — along with several subsequent attempts — by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Proponents said it would create jobs and boost the economy, but critics countered that it would increase emissions amid the climate crisis.
Cannabis: Senate Bill 100 would have amended the Cannabis Regulation Act approved last year, partly increasing the number of plants a micro-grower could grow. But an amendment removing the requirement for cannabis growers and manufacturers to obtain water rights has sparked controversy. Water rights activists cried foul when the bill was presented to the House Judiciary Committee, where it was never heard.
Environment: The House and Senate unanimously approved House Bill 164, which requires the state Department of Environment to coordinate a statewide effort to clean up and recover old uranium mine and mill sites.
Over objection from Republicans, the Senate approved a bill to create a statewide clean fuel standard in New Mexico. But Senate Bill 14, designed to reduce the state’s carbon footprint by tackling greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, died in the House early Thursday morning in a vote. 33-33.
The Clean Future Act also aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation, House Bill 6, survived two committees but never received a vote in the House. Similarly, a proposed constitutional amendment granting New Mexico residents the right to clean and healthy air, water, and soil failed to get a ground vote.
A bill that would have banned the storage of spent nuclear fuel in the state, in response to plans to develop such a site in southern New Mexico, has not taken off. Senate Bill 54 was heard by a committee which introduced it without approval.
Health care: House Bill 91, which would streamline the process for licensed out-of-state health care workers — including nurses — to obtain a license in New Mexico, was unanimously approved in both bedrooms.
Electoral redistricting: Joint House Resolution 9, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have removed the New Mexico Legislative Assembly from the contentious process of selecting new electoral districts for legislative and congressional seats, went to a single committee.
Predatory loans: After efforts in previous sessions failed, lawmakers approved a bill to cap interest rates on short-term loans. House Bill 132 would reduce the maximum annual interest rate on installment loans from 175% to 36%.
Land grants: A measure that would distribute a small percentage of the state’s gross tax revenue to eligible land grants passed both houses with little opposition. House Bill 8 would create the Land Grant Assistance Fund which would be administered by the Ministry of Finance and Administration.