2019 Legislative Session Report

Posted by:Cody

With a new Governor and a significant budget surplus, the 2019 Legislative Session was as active as any legislative session in recent memory.  Though the tourism and hospitality industries saw many favorable measures (Lodgers Tax Reform – SB 106; GRT Reform for Online Sales – HB 6; SB 2 – Film Tax Credit; Office of Outdoor Recreation SB 462, etc.) become law, there were also a number of bills that we worked hard to defeat and/or amend throughout the session.  Some of the more notable examples:

  • paid sick leave measures
  • minimum wage increases

  • pregnant worker accommodation act

  • corporate income tax increases

  • select liquor reform bills

  • long term rental tenancy tax

  • hotel panic button legislation 

Though we did defeat a number of these initiatives, we also worked hand-in-hand with members of the impacted industries, advocates and bill sponsors to revise and amend a few of the aforementioned bills to resolve our primary concerns with the initiatives. 

Another bright spot of this session was the significant increase to the New Mexico Tourism Department budget in HB 2 that ultimately sent about $4.7 million in new money to NMTD. Those new monies were appropriated as:

  • $300,000 for personnel and operational costs

  • $3 million to general marketing and promotion

  • $700,000 to Spaceport America for marketing and promotion

  • $25,000 to the New Mexico Bowl for marketing (Line Item Vetoed)

  • $200,000 to the Tour of the Gila for marketing (Line Item Vetoed)

  • $200,000 to the San Juan Little League for marketing and promotion

  • $400,000 to the Special Olympics

This roughly $4.7 million increase is the largest increase in Department history, and we worked closely with Secretary Schroer to help the T Department achieve this highwater mark.  Additionally, the appointment and confirmation of Secretary Schroer was in itself a huge win, as she entered the position with well-established relationships and a sharp understanding of tourism and the related industries.

In total, the 2019 Legislative Session was a huge success for NMHA and the greater hospitality and tourism industries that NMHA represents.  Not only did NMHA meaningfully engage legislators, advocates and the Governor on a number of significant legislative and policy measures, but NMHA took the lead on a number of controversial and impactful measures for the benefit of its membership. 

General Summary of Bills – Below is a summary of the primary bills introduced during the 2019 Legislative Session that could have had either had a direct or indirect impact on the Hospitality and Tourism Industries.   Though there were a few other relevant bills introduced that did not directly impact NMHA so they are not listed below. 

 

Priority Bills Directly Impacting Tourism:

  • HB 6 (J. Trujillo) Tax Reform à HB 6 was the compromise tax reform bill that passed.  It includes the following changes: 
  1. 1.​Imposition of GRT on online and internet sales (like Airbnb and VRBO), which will creates parity between local in state sales and services and online sales and services;
  2. 2.Created a moderate tax on eCigaretts (Line Item Vetoed);

  3. 3.Moderate increase on the excise tax for auto sales;

  4. 4.Revisions to combined reporting that the Oil and Gas Industry felt comfortable with;

  5. 5.Reasonable increases in the working families tax credit;

  6. 6.A tax increase on Hospitals that will result in significant federal matching money that the Hospital Association actually supported; and,

  7. 7.A contingent 5.9% increase to the personal income tax for the highest tax bracket that is only imposed if there are certain budget shortfalls.  The bill was passed and signed but the eCigarette portion was line item vetoed.

  • - HB 139 (Thompson) Hotel Panic Buttons à Initially this bill would have negatively impacted hotels through the state.  However, NMHA engaged the bill sponsors to negotiate compromise language that removed and mitigated the more negative mandates in the legislation.  Ultimately, the bill failed to be heard in Senate Judiciary, but we will probably see it again.
  • - Film Tax Legislation à Numerous bills to amend the film tax credit were introduced (HB 527 and HB 594) but the only one that passed was SB 2 (Rodriguez), which was a priority bill for the Governor.  SB 2 made the following changes to the film credit: 1) Increased yearly rolling aggregate cap from $50 mill to $110 mill; 2) Authorized payment of backlog up to $195 mill; 3) Got rid of tiered system for payments; and 4) made a number of other technical and structural changes to credit that relate to qualifications, reporting, etc.  Passed and signed.
  • - SB 7 (Wirth) Lodger’s Tax Changes à Initially this legislation sought to give local governments the option to allow a significant portion of the proceeds from the lodger’s tax collected against online booking platforms to be used to address affordable housing.  The industry opposed the initial version of the legislation but worked with the sponsor to craft a version of the bill that left the current lodger’s tax untouched by allowing for the creation of a sur tax within the lodger’s tax that would impose an additional fee on online booking rentals.  The sponsor pulled the bill and it was not heard in Senate Finance, but this is still an issue and we will need to work with the sponsor on alternative fixes to affordable housing. 
  • - HB 196 (Chasey) Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act à In its initial form, this bill would have negatively impacted small businesses.   As a result, NMHA, ACI, Association and Association of Counties and several other small business groups took the lead on negotiating compromise language that significantly minimized the bills more onerous provisions.  After NMHA and others became neutral, the bill made it to the Senate Floor but failed to get heard.  We will see this legislation again and need to make sure it comes back in the amended form.
  • - SB 106 (Sapien) Lodger Tax Reform à This bill, which passed and was signed into law, helps level the playing field between online booking platforms (Airbnb and VRBO) and traditional lodging facilities by imposing the lodger’s tax on these online platforms.  Passed and signed.
  • - SB 375 (Munoz) Tenancy Tax Creation à This bill sought to create a new tenancy tax within the lodger’s tax that as initial drafted would have imposed the tax against all lodging facilities and would have been stacked on top of the lodger’s tax.  Subsequent version of this bill continued to have some provisions that were problematic for the industry and local governments.  Though a compromise version that resolved most industry and local government concerns was moved onto the House Floor, the bill was not heard and failed.
  • - SB 462 (Steinborn and Small) Create an Outdoor Recreation Division à This bill, which was a priority for the Governor, will help facilitate outdoor recreation, tourism and commerce in NM.  The Association, after working with the sponsors to address some minor concerns, supported and actively worked to help pass the measure.  Passed and signed.
  • - Minimum Wage Bills à There were a number of minimum wage bills introduced this session.  Some were generally supported by employers and the broader business community and some were not.  The compromise bill that was passed and signed was SB 437. 
    • HB 46 (Royball-Caballero) à Proposed a phased-in minimum wage of $15 per hour, eliminated the tip exemption, had an aggressive CPI, along with other provisions that would have had a significantly negative impact on private businesses and the state budget.  This bill failed to pass out of House Committees. 

    • HB 31 (M Garcia) à Proposed a quick phase-in of a minimum wage of increase of $12 per hour, with elimination of the tip exemption and an aggressive CPI.  This bill was pushed hard by advocacy groups and was actually passed out of the House but died in Senate Corporations.

    • SB 437 (C Sanchez) à Compromise bill that passed out of Senate Corporations and was amended in the House to include: a) a phased in minimum wage increase of $9 in 2020, $10.50 in 2021, $11.50 in 2022 and $12 in 2023; b) an $8.50 student minimum wage; c) moderate increases to the tip credit of $2.35 in 202, $2.55 in 2021, $2.80 in 2022 and $3 in 2023; d) with no CPI.  This bill was recently signed into law.  Passed and signed

 

General Business and Employment Bills:

  • HB 74 (Gonzales) Traditional Historic Communities à Deletes requirements related to what communities can qualify for as “Traditional Historic Communities” so communities throughout the state can gain this classification. Passed and signed.
  • HB 85 (Ely) Union Security Agreements à  This bill creates a state pre-emption provision that prevents local governments (counties and cities) from imposing local “Right to Work” ordinances on their constituencies.  While this bill does nothing to promote or prohibit “Right to Work” laws on a state level, it erodes local authority to pass such provisions on a local level.  The bill passed on a partisan vote and basically maintains the state status quo regarding the “Right to Work” issue.  Passed and signed.

  • HB 123 (Alcon) Economic Development Corporations Fund à Appropriated $2 million to fund economic development under this fund.  The bill failed to make it out of House Committees.

  • HB 129 (Sweetser) Tax Protest Reforms à The Association was one of a handful of critical supporters that helped this bill get through the legislative process.  The bill seeks to streamline the tax appeals process at the TRD so it is easier for small businesses to quickly and efficiently navigate.  Passed and signed.

  • HB 155 (Dow) Local Economic Development Taxes à  Sought to amend LEDA to increase the limit on the amount of local option infrastructure gross receipts tax (GRT) revenue that may be used towards professional services expenditures of certain economic development projects.  The bill died in House Committees.  

  • HB 165 (Sweetser) Modify High Wage Jobs Tax Credit à This bill sought to amend the High Wage Jobs Tax Credit so that the mechanism could be more easily used by qualified NM businesses.  NMHA actively supported this bill with other business groups.   Passes and signed.

  • HB 206 (Chasey) Environment Review Act à This bill would have had a significantly negative impact on all business in the major metro areas of the state and many rural areas by requiring a very stringent set of environmental reviews to be evaluated and met before approval of just about any type of economic or community development project.  The bill was defeated, with the NMHA’s help, in the House Commerce Committee.

  • HB 205 (Andreas Romero) Baby Changing Facilities in Men’s Rooms à This bill only impacts new construction or extensive renovation to existing facilities so NMHA was neutral towards this legislation.  Passed and signed.

  • HB 213 (Roybal-Caballero) and 264 (Chandler) Sick Leave Benefit Bills à Both proposed very costly benefit plans that would have crippled small businesses.  Though a substitute bill was introduced to study the possibility of moving forward with a paid leave plan, that compromise was not adopted.  As a result, both bills were defeated in committee with heavy opposition from NMHA, ACI and several other business groups, but this is legislation we will see again.

  • HB 247 (Chandler) Corporate Income Tax Increases à Several bills to increase cooperate income taxes, to undo the CIT cuts from 2018, were advanced during the session.  All were defeated in committee with opposition from NMHA, ACI and other business groups.    

  • HB 256 (Ferrary) Add e-cigarettes to Clean Indoor Act à The initial version of this bill included all Racinos and Cigar Shops but the bill was amended to remove these locations.  After being amended the bill moved through both chambers and was passed.  Passed and signed.

  • HB 286 and 534 (Lundstrom) Public Private Partnership à In 2017 The board previously voted to support P3 bills that did not focus on the tourism industry and Tourism Department but those bills were defeated in previous sessions with opposition from unions.  This year’s version of the P3 legislation faced far less opposition but NMHA remained neutral.  Both bills failed to pass through the legislative process, but we will see this legislation.

  • HB 301 (Louis) Rental Cars at Airports and SB 556 (Sapien) Peer to Peer Car Sharing  à Both bills proposed a regulatory framework for peer-to-peer rental sharing applications, like Turo.  Both bills failed to pass, with the Senate version making it to the House Floor, but the prevailing thought is that the relevant companies can already operate as long as they enter into agreements with the airports they serve.

  • HB 303 (Fajardo) Foster Families at State Parks à Allows for freed admissions to state parks by qualified foster families.  NMHA was neutral on this legislation.  Passed and signed. 

  • HB 335 (Ely) Create New Top Income Tax Bracket à Proposed the creation of new upper-tier personal income tax bracket at 5.9 percent for joint filing of more than $315,000, $157,000 for heads of household and $200,000 for singles.  Bill died in committees but a contingency version of this was included in HB 6.

  • HB 378 (Scott) Employee Preference Act à This was a version of right to work bills that we have seen in the past.  The bill failed to make it out of House Committees.  Legislation like this won’t have a chance of passage until the political composition of the legislature changes.

  • HB 479 (Harper) De-Earmark Local GRT à This bill seeks to remove current spending earmarks on local GRT increments to give local government more flexibility with respect to how to spend the relevant tax revenue.  Though NMHA did not get involved in this legislation, it could have a positive impact on local tourism marketing efforts by allowing relevant GRT revenue to be directed to those efforts at the direction of local government.  Passes and signed.

  • HB 499 (Dow) State Park Projects à This bill sought to appropriate several million dollars to specific state park projects that are on the State Parks Department’s “shovel ready” list but that have not yet been funded (most were at Elephant Butte Lake).  The bill failed to make it out of House Appropriations but the infrastructure needs are still there, so this issue will come back.

  • HB 527 (Gonzales) Payment of Approved Film Tax Credits à Sought to amend the Film Production Tax Credit Act to create a temporary provision that would remove the $50 million film credit cap for claims approved prior to and in FY19 and once again in FY20, eliminating the backlog for those years.  The bill was amended several times and ultimately died but some of the relevant provisions from the bill were included in SB 2. 

  • HB 531 (Dow) Family Friendly Workplace Credits à  Sought to create a tax credit for qualified businesses that voluntarily implement certain employee benefit programs.  NMHA and other business groups supported this legislation but it failed to pass House Appropriation.

  • HB 522 (Garrett) Unlawful Auto Renewal of Service Contracts à Sought to make it unlawful for a person to renew a contract, except a service contract governed by the Service Contract Regulation Act, or to continue delivery of a product or service after the contract expires without obtaining the consumer’s prior explicit consent.  Bill died in Senate Judiciary.

  • HB 594 (Dow) Elephant Butte Regatta à  Sought to appropriate money for the Elephant Butte Regatta.  Bill died in House Committees.

  • HB 579 (Harper) Tax Reform à Sought to implement comprehensive tax reforms that included changes to GRT, PIT and CIT among others.  It included revision to the state’s approach to internet-based sales, but this bill never got traction and HB 6 was passed instead. 

  • HB 617 (Hochman Vigil) Space Industry Development à Seeks to appropriate $150 thousand to the Economic Development Department (EDD) to contract for various services to foster space industry development in New Mexico. Failed to get out of House Appropriations.

  • SB 6 (Wirth) Determination of in State Sales à Sought to change how the State determines the sourcing of certain sales and services (sourcing is a means of identifying which state’s taxes should be applied to a transaction).  Failed to make it out of Senate Committees. 

  • SB 24 (Padilla) Workplace Harassment Training à Sought to create required sexual harassment training programs and requirements for businesses.  Failed to pass out of Senate Committees.

  • SB 35 (Padilla) Market NM to Retirees à  Sought to appropriate money to the Economic Development Department to promote programs to help facilitate the development of retiree-oriented communities and market NM as a place to retire.  NMHA was neutral towards the legislation as long as the relevant programs and money went to Economic Development and not Tourism.  The bill failed to make it out of Senate Committees. 

  • SB 53 (Steinborn) Access to Affordable State Parks à Proposed language that said the secretary must promulgate rules for the operations and management of state parks, despite existing law that encourages the department to set park fees at rates that will substantially support the parks.  Bill made it though the Senate and died in the House.

  • SB 96 (O’Neil) Ban the Box à This compromise version of this legislation was supported by most business groups and seeks to prohibit employers from putting a box related to previous criminal charges on employment applications.  NMHA and most other business groups remained neutral.  This bill passed and will help end the practice of failing to consider otherwise qualified candidates for jobs.  Passed and signed.

  • SB 169 (C. Sanchez) Disclose all LLC Members à Sought to create regulations that would require each member of an LLC to be specifically named.  The bill failed to pass out of Senate Corporations.

  • SB 176 (Padilla) Consumer Information Privacy Act à Sought to establish certain consumer rights and obligations for businesses that collect or use personal consumer information.  This bill could have impacted all hotels and other tourism related businesses that collect the personal information of their guests.  The bill failed to make it out of Senate Corporations, but we will probably see this legislation again. 

  • SB 183 (Ortiz y Pino) Increase Working Families Tax Credit à Sought to increase the amount of the working families tax credit from 10 percent to 20 percent of the federal income tax credit.  Though the bill failed to make it out of Senate Finance, the working families tax credit was increased in HB 6.

  • SB 227 (Stefanics) Additional Unlawful Discriminatory Practices à  Sought to remove the limitation of fifteen or more employees for an employer to include sexual orientation and gender identity as bases for unlawful discrimination practices.  Passed and signed.

  • SB 350 (Sanchez) Auto Renewal of Service Contracts à Amends the Service Contract Regulation Act to allow the holder of a certain service contract to terminate the contract at any time upon notice of the holder’s intent to terminate.  Passed and signed.

  • SB 358 (Sharer) Tax Reform à  A comprehensive tax reform bill that sought to eliminate all exemptions, credits and deductions in favor of a lower general GRT rate.  Bill failed to get traction and died.

  • SB 608 (Munoz) Legislative Authorization of Space Port à Sought to the legislature the ability to ratify all government actions related to the space port.  Failed to get traction and died.

 

Hunting Bills

  • HB 263 (McQueen) State Game Commission Changes à Makes a number of changes to the make-up, functionality and authority of the State Game Commission.  Passed the House but failed in Senate.

  • SB 38 (Stewart) Wildlife Tariffing Act àAdds several animals to the prohibited list in the act.  Died on the House Floor calendar.

  • SB 76 (Moores) Prohibit Coyote Killing à Makes it illegal for anyone to organize coyote killing contests. Passed and signed.

  • SB 228 (Stewart) Wildlife Corridors Act à Seeks to enact the Wildlife Corridors Act and direct the departments of game and fish and transportation to prepare a wildlife corridors action plan that specifies what is needed to identify and maintain seasonal dispersals, daily movements, and landscape scale migrations of wildlife through the state. Passed and signed.

  • SB 382 (Cisneros) Hunting License Fee à Sought to increase hunting, fishing and trapping license fees for residents and non-residents depending on license type.  Died in Senate.

  • SB 390 () Trapping Regulation Changes à  Sought to make changes to how trapping is regulated in NM.  Died in Senate Committees.

 

Gas Tax and Infrastructure (Telecom, Broadband and Roads) Bills à There were a number of broadband, telecom bills introduced to help facilitate the development of broadband infrastructure but none of them passed.  There were also a number of physical infrastructure (road) bills that sought to raise funds for road improvement by increasing the gas tax but, again, none passed.  However, HB 2 contained about $400 million in appropriations for roadway improvement, matinee, construction, planning and design throughout the state’s six transportation districts.  Below are some of the relevant bills:

  • HB 9 (Sweetser) Broadband Infrastructure Advisory Committee à Sought to amend DoIT Act to establish the broadband infrastructure development fund to provide grants and loans to local governments for the provision of broadband service to rural areas.  Bill failed to make it out of House Committees.

  • HB 176 (J Trujillo) Broadband and Telecom GRT Fees à Proposed a gross receipts tax and compensating tax deduction for the value of broadband telecommunications network facilities component to promote the deployment of broadband telecommunications services.  Passed House but failed in Senate Finance.

  • HB 189 (Brown) State Road Fund à Appropriated $860 million to the state road fund for expenditure in fiscal year 2020.  The state road fund receives half of its revenue through taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, and the gas tax has not changed since 1993 while special fuels, or diesel, was last increased in 2004.  Bill failed to make it through House Committees.

  • HB 201 (Brown) County Road Fund à Sought to create an optional designation for personal income tax contributions to county road funds and create a tax credit against income tax and corporate income tax for donations to a county road fund.  Failed to make it out of House Committees.

  • HB 321 (J Trujillo) Car Registration Fee for Road Fund à Sought to increase vehicle registration fees for passenger vehicles and commercial trucks by $2.00 and direct the revenue to the newly-created state transit fund.  Failed to be heard on House Floor.

  • HB 385 (Johnson) Access to Rural Telecom à  Sought to amend the Rural Telecommunications Act and makes changes to the eligibility requirements for receipt of state rural universal service fund (SRUSF). Passed House and Senate Committees but died on Senate Floor Calendar.

  • HB 609 (Gonzalez) and SB 504 (Smith) Gas Tax Rate and Distributions à  Sought to increase the gasoline tax by ten cents per gallon and the special fuels tax by six cents per gallon, with half of the new revenue distributed to counties and municipalities, and create a new state road maintenance fund with the remaining new money distributed to this fund.  Neither bill made it through the committee process in the respective Chamber.   

  • SB 233 (Tallman) Broadband Access à Proposed a new section of the Unfair Practices Act to prohibit and make certain acts “unfair and deceptive trade practices” subject to penalty.  Failed to make it out of Senate Committees.

  • SB 505 (Smith) Motor Vehicle Tax à Sought to increase the motor vehicle excise tax to 4 percent and distribute 48.44 percent of all revenue to a newly created state road maintenance fund.  Failed to make it out of Senate Committees.

  • SB 571 (Kernan) Create Urgent Highway Fund à  Sough to create a new Urgent Highway Fund and appropriate $60 million to the fund.  Failed to make it out of Senate Committees.

  • SB 609 (C. Sanchez) Car Fuel Excie Tax à Sought to appropriate $300 million from the general fund in FY20 to a newly created Transportation Projects Reserve for the purpose of completing nine specific highway projects and increase: 1) the gasoline excise tax to 21 cents; 2) the special fuels excise tax to 26 cents; and, the motor vehicles excise tax to 4 percent. New revenues from these tax increases are distributed to the new fund until the fund balance reaches $608 million, then new revenues would be split approximately 65 percent to the state road fund and 35 percent to the local government road fund.  This bill was the most comprehensive and equitable approach to increasing the relevant taxes and using relevant funds on targeted projects through the state and NMHA supported in Committee.  Got some traction but failed to make it out of Senate Finance.

 

Environment Bills:

  • HB 175 (T Salazar) Regional Water Utility à  Sought to create regional water utilities and water usage plans in NM.  Died in House.

  • HB 266 (Bandy) Forrest and Watershed Restoration à Creates the Forest and Watershed Restoration Act to promote and pursue large-scale forest and watershed projects on any lands in the state and include corporations or organizations in conjunction with EMNRD in addition to federal, state or local government agencies and tribal entities.  Passed and signed.

  • SB 489 (Candelaria) Energy Transition Act à Landmark legislation that will change the energy future of NM.   This reformative legislation was supported by both Public Utilities and most environment, business groups and local governmental entities.  Passed and signed.

 

Marijuana Bills  There were a number of bills related to the legalization and regulation of marijuana and hemp introduced this session.  Though SB 406 (Ortiz y Pino) Medical Marijuana Changes and HB 581 (Lente) Help Manufacturing Act passed, no bill that would have legalized marijuana for recreation purposes were passed.   The legalization bill that got the most traction was SB 575 (Pirtle) but that bill stalled in Senate Committees after a similar bill passed through the House.

 

Liquor Bills à A number of bills that would have impacted the status of existing liquor licenses were introduced this year and NMHA followed the lead of the Restaurant Association and other lobbyists that represent liquor license holders to defeat all bills that would have negatively impacted the value of existing licenses.  A list of relevant bills is below, but only a handful of liquor related billed passed.

  • HB 151 (Ruiloba) Liquor Deliveries by Minors.  Allows minors of at least 18 years of age who have Commercial Driver’s Licenses to deliver packaged alcoholic beverages to holders of dispenser, restaurant or club licenses. Passed and signed.

  • HB 271 (Montoya) and SB 79 (Souels) Liquor License Dispensers License à Would have created a new dispensers license for municipalities in local option districts. Died.

  • HB 272 (Montoya) Restaurant Liquor License à Would have created a new less expensive type of liquor license for restaurants. Died.

  • HB 273 (Montoya) and SB 78 (Soules) Local Option Sale of NM Spirits à Would have allowed, at the option of a local of a local government, the creation of less expensive liquor license permits for restaurants to sell NM made spirits.  Died.

  • HB 482 (Montoya) and SB 512 (Brandt) Change the Maximum Number of Licenses à Would have increased the maximum number of liquor licenses.

  • HB 489 (J Martinez) and SB 412 (Stewart) Craft Beverage Reform à Updated certain craft beverage statutes to allow for Sunday sales at 11:00 am and private celebration permits as well as increasing the volume limits for excise taxes of NM made craft beer, spirts and cider.  This is really the only liquor bill that passed the legislature this session and it is helpful to the tourism industry as it promotes the continued growth of local craft breweries and distilleries.  Passed and signed in SB 413. 

  •  HB 549 (Sweetser) Removal of Partially Consumed Wine à Allows partially consumed wine bottles to be removed from wineries and tasting rooms.  Passed and signed.

  • HB 603 (Montoya) Small Liquor License Reciprocity à Would have allowed holders of craft beer, craft distiller or wine grower’s licenses to stack multiple licenses at one location. Died.

  • SB 19 (Neville) Liquor License Transfer à Would have allowed holders of a full dispenser’s liquor transfer to transfer certain privileges associated with that license to another local option district.  Died.

  • SB 127 (Papen) Alcoholic Beverage Import Shipments à Would have prohibited direct shipment to NM residents of alcohol into the state by any entity other than a distributor as defined in the bill.  Died.

  • SB 474 (Ortiz y Pino) Beer and Wine Deliveries à Sought to allow the delivery of beer, wine and cider with food by giving local option districts the ability to vote on whether to allow beer, wine and cider to be delivered with groceries or lunch or dinner entrees. Passed but vetoed.

 

Other Bills:

  • Time Change à HB 73 and SB 226 respectively proposed to keep NM on regular mountain standard time or keep NM on daylight savings mountain standard time.  While each gained some traction, nether passed through the legislative process.  New Mexico could pass a bill to stay on regular time but the Fed does not allow states to move to daylight savings year-round.

  • Oil and Gas à Though a few bills that the Oil and Gas Industry did not love were passed (increasing fines and fees for environment violations, limiting OCD powers, etc.), the session was generally a success for the industry as most negative pieces of legislation were defeated.

  • Criminal Justice Reform à After years of failed attempts to update the State’s criminal code and other aspects of our Criminal Justice System, this session saw a series of significant criminal justice bills pass.  A few of the primary bills are:

    • HB 267 (Ely) Criminal Reduction Grant Act à Changed the composition of the Sentencing Commission, amended portions of the Behavioral Health Act, mandated all Judicial Districts form Criminal Justice Reform Commissions (CJCC) and allowed for grants to CJCCs and the formation of a criminal justice data project.  Passed and signed.

    • HB 342 (Maestas)  à Omnibus criminal reform that: offenders with behavioral health diagnoses and related jail incarceration procedures; immunity for assisting with overdose cases; procedures for pre-prosecution diversion; probation and parole procedures; pre-sentence reports; requirements for crime victims’ reparations; accurate eyewitness identification requirements and training. Passed and signed.

    • HB 370 (Maestas) Expungement Act à  Allows for certain felonies to petition for expungement after meeting certain stringent requirements. Passed and signed.

    • HB 427 (Hochman Vigil) Changes to Traffic Code à Amended the Suspended License Statute to promote fairness and improve how Courts, District Attorneys, Law Enforcement and Public Defenders deal with certain traffic offences. Passed and signed.

    • HB 564 (Maestas) Probation and Parole Change à Made some significant changes to probation and parole, including defining the purpose of probation to be to enforce victim restitution, hold people accountable for their criminal conduct, promote a person’s reintegration into law-abiding society and reduce the risks that the person will commit new offenses.  Passed but vetoed.

 

All in all, the 2019 Legislative Session was a successful campaign for the New Mexico tourism and lodging industry. 

 

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