Valley Leaders Kick Off Legislative Session: Reveal Priorities


Valley Leaders Kick Off Legislative Session

Staff Report

The 2016 legislative session is underway in Santa Fe and with just 30 days to pass a budget and address some major issues facing New Mexico, area lawmakers are already hard at work.

Rio Arriba County was well represented Tuesday for Governor Susana Martinez’s State of the State address.  Rio Arriba County Commissioners Barney Trujillo and Alex Naranjo, Espanola School Board President Pablo Lujan, and Sheriff James Lujan were guests of Senators Richard Martinez and Carlos Cisneros. 

Governor Martinez acknowledged shortcomings and a lack of funding in our public schools and doubled down on mandatory third grade retention, a hot button issue for educators and parents. Martinez argued it was time for tougher penalties for drinking and driving offenses and repeat violent offenders. Martinez pressed that it was time to repeal driver licenses for undocumented immigrants as well as, better campaign finance disclosures.  

County Commissioner Barney Trujillo outside the House Chambers
at Tuesday’s State of the State. Valley Daily Post photo

Along with the various bills Martinez authorizes the legislature to debate, the Valley’s legislators have introduced a wide variety of legislation to address jobs, water, REAL ID, internet access, and capital improvement projects.  The following sections details the legislation pre-filed by each Senator and House of Representative. 

Senator Carlos Cisneros

  • SB 30 – Advanced Water Mapping Fund – Releases funding for mapping for development of the Rio Grande Trail.
  • SB 31 – Technology Readiness Gross Receipts Credit – Incentives the national laboratories to provide technology readiness assistance to New Mexico businesses. 
  • SB 32 – National Board Certification To Teacher T & E – Expands instructional staff training and experience definitions. 
  • SB 33 – Capital Outlay Planning & Monitoring Act – Establishes a Capital Outlay Planning Council and new funding guidelines.
  • SB 82 – Expand NM-Grown Produce In School Lunches – Releases $90,000 to expand providing locally grown food for student’s lunches.
  • SB 110 – Revenue for Forrest & Watershed Projects – Allows for forest land protection monies to be used for watershed projects.
  • SB 122 – General Obligation Bond Projects – Releases bonds for capital improvement projects.

Senator Carlos Cisneros and PRC Chair Valerie Espinoza on the House Floor before the Governor speaks. Photo by Carol Clark with the Valley Daily Post

Senator Richard Martinez

  • SB 96 – Grandparents Raising Grandchildren – Releases $100,000 to assist grandparents raising grandchildren in New Mexico.
  • SB 97 – Create Judge Pro Tempore Fund – Establishes a fund to costs of judges pro tempore.
  • SB 98 – Services For Urban Indians – Releases appropriations to the Indian Affairs department to support services for Native Americans.
  • SB 99 – MFA Veteran Home Rehabilitation – Releases $2,000,000 to provide necessary rehabilitation for homes occupied by New Mexico veterans who’s income does not exceed 60 percent of the area medium income.
  • SB 102 – Wastewater System Financing – Releases appropriations for wastewater facility construction loan fund.

Senator Richard Martinez at an event in 2015. The Senator also attended Governor Martinez’s State of the State address. Valley Daily Post photo

Representative Nick Salazar

  • HB 157 – Statewide Senior Citizen Services – Releases $1,999,761 to the aging and long-term service department for elderly care.

Rep. Nick Salazar greeting coleagues from his seat on the Floor. Photo by Carol Clark with the Valley Daily Post

Representative Debbie Rodella

  • HB 19 – Drinking Water System Financing – Releases $1,800,000 for Safe Drinking Water Act projects. 

Rep. Debbie Rodella and her son, Tommy Rodella Jr. on the House Floor before the Governor speaks. Photo by Carol Clark with the Valley Daily Post

Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard

  • House Bill 17 – Veteran Definition For Tuition – Expands the scope of those veterans and family members who can take advantage of resident tuition at New Mexico’s public universities and colleges. 
  • House Bill 18 – County Employee Salary Structure – Sets salary limits for individuals elected to serve full-time and part-time at the county level.
  • House Bill 74 – DWI Test, Penalties & License Revocation – Closes the breathalyzer loophole plaguing New Mexico DWI enforcement laws, establishes a sobriety monitoring program for individuals who receive a DWI but do not own a car and increases the amount of time a defendant has an interlock device according to their blood alcohol level.
  • House Bill 94 – REAL ID Card – Allows the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division to issue a REAL ID compliant identification card to applicants that meet the requirements of the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005. The proposal would provide for, but not require, citizens to obtain REAL ID compliant identification. New, REAL ID compliant identification cards would be distinguishable from other, non-REAL ID-compliant licenses and identification cards. 
  • House Bill 139 – Local Economic Development Act Projects – Expands the number of communities that may participate in local economic development projects, such as Rio Arriba, Los Alamos and Espanola by granting additional flexibility to the local community.

Attorney General Hector Balderas and Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard chat on the House Floor. Photo by Carol Clark with the Valley Daily Post

Representative Carl Trujillo

  • HB 29 – Allow Local Government Curfew Ordinances – Allows for children in violation of the curfew ordinance to be taken into protective custody, if a parent cannot be reached.
  • HB 31 – New Mexico Private Equity Fund Definition – Expands the definition of “New Mexico private equity fund” which will expand economic development opportunities and allow New Mexico to look more attractive to private equity and venture capital firms investing in New Mexico companies. 
  • HB 70 – Hearing Aid Option Information – Increasing transparency and options for patients during hearing aid appointments. 
  • HB 71 – Small Water System Project Financing – Mandates at least ten percent of the water project fund must go to the Sanitary Projects Act and acequia associations.
  • HB 128 – Broadband Telecom Facility Gross Receipts – Creates an exemption for the cost of building broadband telecommunication network facilities. 
  • HB 163 – Home Energy & Water Efficiency Tax Credit – Provides home owners up to $5,000 in tax credits for home energy and water efficiency improvements. 

Rep. Carl Trujillo and his son Aaron Trujillo on the House Floor. Photo by Carol Clark with the Valley Daily Post