2019 Viante NM Legislative Focus Bills
Viante Bill Selection Process
Viante reviewed over 1300 bills that were introduced during the 2019 Legislative Session. Using our metrics, we identified bills that have an impact on Viante’s three focus areas of education, crime & quality of life. After much discussion about which bills were data driven and represented common ground solutions, the 10 board directors unanimously narrowed down the selection to the 15 Focus Bills that Viante then used to score our state’s lawmakers on. If a bill did not have unanimous approval from the Board, it was dropped from Viante’s consideration.
You can read a summary of each focus bill below.
HB589 – Community School, Early Childhood & Pre-k
An act relating to public schools; requiring implementation of a cost-saving, real-time advanced data collection system to reduce administrative costs for school districts and charter schools; eliminating certain reporting requirements; establishing minimum classroom expenditure goals for school districts and charter schools; providing an incentive to meet goals.
Bill Outcome: HB589 had large support in the house but saw a split vote in the senate. The governor signed it into law.
HB91 Career Technical Education Pilot Project
This bill establishes a seven-year pilot project for career and technical education (CTE) to fund high-quality CTE programs and monitor their effects on student outcomes. The legislature appropriated $3 million to the Public Education Department for the pilot project, with an additional $2 million special appropriation.
Bill Outcome: HB91 had bipartisan sponsorship with unanimous votes in both the house and senate. The governor has signed this bill into law.
HB664 Public Peace, Health, Safety & Welfare
This bill is what is called a “dummy bill”. Sometimes bills with very generic titles are introduced before the midpoint deadline with the intention of amending it with the true content of the bill. HB664 proposes, for purposes of high school graduation, to allow high school students to take career technical education (CTE) courses or participate in work-based training programs that have been approved by the Public Education Department (PED) instead of taking one of four required units in English, and one of three required units in science currently required for high school graduation. The bill would also allow high school students to take a PED-approved CTE course or work-based learning program, or a financial literacy class, instead of one of three required units of science. These CTE or work-based learning programs must satisfy state English, math, and science academic content and performance standards. The overall budget in HB2 appropriated $3 million to PED for a CTE pilot project along with an additional $2 million special appropriation to PED for a CTE pilot to include an online supplemental learning system that integrates algebra and geometry into CTE studies, and to teach online workplace soft skills for high school students.
Bill Outcome: HB664 had unanimous support in both chambers and was signed by the Governor.
HB182 Reading Initiative Literacy & Biliteracy
This bill would require the Public Education Department (PED) to design and implement a statewide, research-based literacy and biliteracy initiative to improve reading, writing, and spelling proficiency in New Mexico that is culturally and linguistically relevant to each student. PED would be required to work with national experts to develop an immediate literacy and biliteracy initiative as well as a long-term plan for sustaining literacy and biliteracy improvements. It did not include an appropriation but it required two new full-time employees at PED.
Bill Outcome: This bill had unanimous support on the house floor along with success in the Senate Education and Senate Public Affairs Committees but never made it to the Senate Floor for a vote.
HB236 Attendance For Success Act
House Bill 236 (HB236) repeals the Compulsory School Attendance Law and replaces it with the Attendance for Success Act. The bill provides for early, intensive interventions for absent, chronically absent, and excessively absent students. The interventions are progressive and begin by meeting with parents and progress to a potential referral to the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD). Interventions for absent students focus on non-punitive consequences and partnerships between schools and local service providers, businesses, healthcare providers, counselors, and civic groups to involve the entire community in supporting students’ attendance. The bill also requires public schools and school districts to report specific attendance metrics to the PED. It requires schools to maintain an attendance policy that includes provisions to provide additional educational opportunities to students who are struggling with attendance.
Bill Outcome: The bill passed unanimously in both chambers and was signed by the Governor.
HB509 Illegally Dismantling Stolen Vehicles
House Bill 509 amends the law to include knowingly maintaining or controlling a chop shop in addition to knowingly owning or operating a chop shop as illegal and subject to penalty. It also defines about what constitutes a chop shop to also include alteration or concealment of serial numbers or other identifying features of a car as well as license plates. House Bill 509 also criminalizes transporting a vehicle to a chop shop and undertaking any financial transaction with a chop shop, knowing it to be a chop shop. Those violations would constitute 4th degree felonies while proof that an individual was operating a chop shop in the totality would result in a 3rd degree felony. As of 2014, there were 15 other states and the federal government that have passed “chop shop” statutes.
Bill Outcome: HB509 had unanimous support in the house but never came up for a vote when it crossed over Senate Judiciary.
SB282 Immunity For Overdose Assistance
Senate Bill 282 would amend the Controlled Substances Act and add a new provision to the Liquor Control Act to expand the protections for those seeking medical assistance for themselves or another in an alcohol- or drug-related overdose. The bill would prevent “Good Samaritans” from being penalized in various ways who may not otherwise report or attempt to obtain medical treatment for those experiencing overdoses. The bill also calls for protection from any type of civil forfeiture. There is an undetermined administrative cost from several departments but there is no appropriation. HSD indicates in 2007, New Mexico passed the “Good Samaritan” law which provides immunity when a person who is either experiencing or assisting someone with a drug-related overdose seeks medical attention. A continuing challenge has been the law does not provide immunity to individuals who are justice-involved and required to abstain from controlled substances and those who are using them. This bill aims to address this gap in the current legislation.
Bill Outcome: This bill had unanimous support in the Senate but did not make it to the House floor for a vote after another unanimous decision in the Health and Human Services Committee.
HB278 Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
House Bill 278 creates a task force chaired by the secretary of the Indian Affairs Department to study and determine how to increase state resources for reporting and identifying missing and murdered indigenous women in the state. House Bill 278 authorizes the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force to operate until the end of FY21. The fiscal impact report believes any costs can be absorbed by the department.
Bill Outcome: The bill passed with unanimous support from the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
HB376 Abuse & Neglect Multilevel Response System
House Bill 376 bill amends the existing law that requires Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to establish a multilevel response system to evaluate and provide services to children and their families or caretakers when a report of child abuse or neglect has been made. The new multilevel response system allows CYFD to, after evaluation, include an alternative to investigating the report when the evaluation indicates that there is no immediate concern for the child’s safety. The bill defines “family assessment” as a comprehensive, evidence-based assessment tool to determine the needs of a family and the likelihood of imminent danger to a child’s well-being, the child becoming an abused or neglected child and the strengths and needs of the child’s family members or caretakers. The bill doesn’t have a specific appropriation by CYFD’s operating budget includes funding for family support service centers along with in home services. LFC estimates alternative response to cost $98 per family; current family support service program costs approximately $2,000 per family.
Bill Outcome: The bill passed mostly unanimously except for three senators and it was signed into law by the Governor.
HB43 Behavioral Health Interventions
This bill appropriates $1.5 million from the general fund to the Human Services Department to fund awards to counties that apply for behavioral health services funding to serve individuals incarcerated in county facilities.
Bill Outcome: HB43 only had one person who voted against it in both chambers and was signed by the Governor.
Quality of Life Bills
SB202 Child & Family Databank Act
SB202 would enact the Child and Family Databank Act, an act to coordinate the data collection, storage, and sharing efforts among several state agencies to better implement evidence-based policymaking pursuing better outcomes for at-risk children and families. SB202 would create the child and family databank commission. The commission, consisting of 17 appointed members, and administratively attached to the Office of the Governor, would be responsible for building the infrastructure to support data sharing and access. In developing processes for data storage and transmission, the commission would be required to protect individually identifiable information in accordance with all applicable privacy and security laws. The state agencies required to share data in the databank would be the Human Services Department (HSD), the Department of Health (DOH), the Public Education Department (PED) the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), the New Mexico Corrections Department (NMCD), and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Additional agencies may be involved in hosting the databank, like the Department of Information Technology (Do IT).
Bill Outcome: HB173 is the same version but the Viante board chose the Senate version because it had more sponsors and it was on the Senate side that in both HB173 and SB202 that the bill died.
HB150 Installment & Small Loan Changes
HB 150 cleans up New Mexico’s small dollar loan laws to close existing loopholes and ensure that borrowers are receiving the full protection of the laws as intended. This bill also establishes robust data-reporting so that our government can truly understand the impact of storefront lending in New Mexico and make informed decisions about future regulations. The point of this act and the bill is to regulate the maximum interest consumers can to pay on small loans.
Bill Outcome: The House was split on this bill, but the Senate unanimously voted for it. It was signed by the Governor.
HB534 Public-private Partnership Act
House Bill 534 creates the Public-Private Partnership Act, providing legal authority for governmental entities to enter into agreements with private entities to develop public projects. Projects are restricted to infrastructure in transportation or broadband telecommunications areas. The bill creates a Public-Private Partnership (PPP or P3) Board, staffed by the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA). The P3 Board would review and approve P3 agreements that meet a minimum threshold, agreements for greater than $10 million or longer than five years. The bill provides authority to the NMFA to participate in the financing of the P3 agreements through a P3 Project Fund, established by the bill. The NMFA Board would approve any financing for loans and grants from the fund. Until this bill, public-private partnerships have been completed throughout New Mexico on an ad-hoc basis with mixed results. Oversight of projects is left to a governing body that is a party to the agreement, which in some cases may not have the staff or expertise to fully analyze long-term financial obligations of the public-private partnership agreements.
Bill Outcome: There was a unanimous vote in the House but the bill failed to pass a Senate Floor vote and died.
HB526 Lab Small Business Tax Credit Changes
House Bill 526 expands the usefulness of the national laboratory partnership with small business tax credit by increasing the maximum tax credit amounts for assisting a small business from $10 thousand to $20 thousand for businesses in urban areas and from $20 thousand to $40 thousand for businesses in rural areas. It also includes in the definition of contractors eligible to provide small business assistance 501(c)(3) organizations exempt from federal taxes, often referred to as nonprofits, if they have a place of business in New Mexico. Finally, it requires the national laboratory to provide a written notice that informs each small business receiving assistance of their right to license intellectual property developed from the small business assistance or obtain ownership of the tangible or intangible property developed from the small business assistance. This bill has no fiscal impact. The existing $10 thousand and $20 thousand limits were put in place in 2007. Inflation, perhaps along with anecdotal reports of the need for greater assistance for individual projects, likely led to the proposal to double these limits.
Bill Outcome: This bipartisan sponsored bill lead to the near unanimous support in both the House and Senate. The Governor signed it into law.
HB479 De-earmark Local Option Gross Receipts
House Bill 479 removes the restricted uses of several municipal and county local option gross receipts taxes. In doing so, a number of restricted local option rates are repealed in favor of increasing the unrestricted countywide local option rate from 7/16 percent to 1.25 percent, the unrestricted county remainder additional local option rate would be capped at .5 percent and the unrestricted municipal local option rate increased from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. A number of local options for both counties and municipalities are not repealed, but would add to the total rate imposed in each county or municipality. Certain new replacement authorizations will require a positive referendum. The bill also removes restrictions on the use of various increments of the County Gross Receipts tax. The bill makes provision for the procedures and guarantees in situations where various local option gross receipts taxes have been used as a source of funds for retiring revenue bonds.
Bill Outcome: This is a bipartisan bill was passed almost unanimously with the exception of four senators and was signed by the Governor.