2020 Viante Legislative Focus Bills

Viante Bill Selection Process

Viante reviewed over 1300 bills that were introduced during the 2020 Legislative Session.  Using our metrics, we identified bills that have an impact on Viante’s three focus areas of educationcrime & economic opportunity. 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.

Education Bills


SB 96 – Online School Budget Reporting

This bill creates a statewide online reporting system for school budgets. PED will help design the system. This will allow for analysis across schools in how each individual school is allocating their funds. The system is required to show the ways schools are budgeting for at-risk student supports, bilingual multicultural education services, special education student supports, administrative costs, salaries and benefits by job classification, major expenditure categories, and revenue sources.

Bill Outcome: SB 96 passed both chambers unanimously and the governor has signed it into law.


HB 298 – College and Career Readiness Systems

This bill makes an appropriation to PED to fund a statewide, comprehensive college and career readiness system, specifically targeting historically underserved communities. This would be implemented through PED contracting with an organization with a successful record of K-12 college and career readiness.

Bill Outcome: HB 298 passed the House Education Committee unanimously but died in Appropriations & Finance.


HB 59 – At-Risk Program Units & Index Calc. Change

This bill raises the at-risk index in the state, a measure designed for compliance with the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit. This change in the index would classify 11,000 new students as at-risk and change the appropriations made to their schools. The bill contains an appropriation to cover the cost of this move.

Bill Outcome: HB 59 passed the House unanimously, the Senate nearly unanimously, and has been signed into law by the governor.


HB 83 – Early Childhood Education & Care Fund

This bill creates a large fund for early childhood education and care. The bill distributes revenue in excess of an annual five-year average for federal mineral leasing payments (FML) to the fund. Additionally, if general fund reserves are 25 percent of recurring appropriations, the bill distributes oil and gas emergency school tax revenue in excess of the five-year average to the ECTF fund that would otherwise flow into the tax stabilization reserve.

Bill Outcome: HB 83 passed both chambers easily and the governor has signed it into law.


HB 102 – National Board Certification Scholarship Act

This bill creates a scholarship fund for New Mexico teachers to obtain National Board Certification, which has been characterized as one of the most effective moves a teacher can make for their professional development. The funding comes from the public education reform fund and requires the PED to report on the performance of scholarship recipients.

Bill Outcome: HB 102 passed both chambers nearly unanimously and the governor has signed it into law.


Crime Bills


HB 156 – Crime of Illegally Dismantling Stolen Vehicles

This bill criminalizes owning or operating a “chop shop,” or a facility in which stolen vehicles are dismantled. This would be a third-degree felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Many other states, including New Mexico’s neighbor states, have passed “chop shop” statutes.

Bill Outcome: HB 156 passed the House of Representatives unanimously but died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.


SB 182 – Behavioral Health Community Integration Act

 This bill creates a community-based behavioral health system for high-risk individuals, specifically those with severe mental illnesses between the ages of 16-22, who are not covered by Medicaid. This comprehensive system would be intended to provide these individuals with support for mental health needs and life skills, and to reduce the likelihood of recidivism and relapse.

Bill Outcome: SB 182 passed the Senate unanimously but died in the House.


HB 114 – Firearms & Controlled Substance Penalty

This bill creates a third-degree felony for possession of a firearm while trafficking a controlled substance. This creates an “add-on” charge for drug traffickers. This is an existing federal law, but this bill would allow for prosecution without necessitating taking the case to federal court.

Bill Outcome: This bill passed the House Public Affairs Committee but died in the House Judiciary.


SB 128 – Assisted Outpatient Treatment Act Changes

This bill repeals the sunset for the existing Assisted Outpatient Treatment Act and expands the definition of “assisted outpatient treatment” to include comprehensive community support services (CCSS) and intensive outpatient program (IOP) services. The bill also adds to the group of people who are permitted to file a petition for an order authorizing assisted outpatient treatment.

Bill Outcome: SB 128 passed both chambers nearly unanimously and has been signed into law by the governor.


HB 237 – Human Trafficking & Sex Offender Changes

This bill makes a handful of changes to statute regarding human trafficking and what is considered a sex offense. These include expanding the definition of human trafficking, increasing penalties for those who commit these crimes, and expanding protections for victims. Furthermore, the bill removes the statute of limitation for these crimes and adds those found guilty of human trafficking offenses to the list of those who must register for life as sex offenders.

Bill Outcome: HB 237 passed the House of Representatives unanimously but died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.



Quality of Life Bills

HB 44 – New Mexico Work and Save Act

This bill creates a voluntary retirement savings plan for the private sector and nonprofit employees in the state, purchased through a website. The marketplace will be created and maintained by the New Mexico Work and Save Board, whose additional duties will include developing an outreach plan to inform New Mexico workers of the program, oversight of the fund, and working to minimize participant fees and total expense.

Bill Outcome: HB 44 passed both chambers nearly unanimously and has been signed into law by the governor.


HB 264 – Public Private Partnership Act

This bill would create a statute allowing the government to enter into agreements with private entities to develop public projects. It would also establish a board to oversee these projects. Previously, public-private partnerships have been created on an ad-hoc basis in New Mexico. More than 35 other states have statutes overseeing public-private partnerships.

Bill Outcome: HB 264 passed its committees but died on the House floor.


HB 220 – Motor Vehicle Tax Distributions

This bill changes the distribution of the existing motor vehicle excise tax. Beginning in 2022, the bill would send 35% of the tax to the state road fund and 23% to the local government transportation project fund. The bill also protects most of the funds from being pledged for bond repayment.

Bill Outcome: HB 220 passed the House unanimously but died on the Senate floor.


SB 118 – Local & Regional Econ Development Support 

This bill creates a fund to support local and regional economic development projects. The bill redefines the government’s role in the existing Local Economic Development Act (LEDA), and specifies the government may participate in traditional LEDA projects for economic base jobs, retail projects for communities with less than 15 thousand in population, and rural site infrastructure to create “shovel-ready” locations for businesses. This bill is meant to create more flexibility for an array of business projects in rural communities.

Bill Outcome: SB 118 passed both chambers nearly unanimously and has been signed into law by the governor.


SB 17 – Tax Deductions for Broadband Infrastructure 

This bill creates a gross receipts tax and compensating tax deduction for broadband facility components. The goal is to increase broadband connectivity across the state. New Mexico currently ranks near the bottom of the nation in terms of internet access, so the bill is designed to make New Mexico more appealing to companies looking to expand broadband infrastructure.

Bill Outcome: SB 17 passed the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee unanimously but died in the Senate Finance Committee.

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