Trio Of Bills To Help Rural New Mexico Pass House

by Reporter / Mar 09, 2019 / 0 comments
The Roundhouse in Santa Fe. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Trio Of Bills To Help Rural New Mexico Pass House

Rep. D. Wonda Johnson champions bills to positively impact tribal and frontier areas.

SANTA FE – The House of Representatives has passed a trio of bills sponsored by Rep. D. Wonda Johnson (D-Church Rock) that will positively impact rural and frontier areas of New Mexico.

House Bill 234, Public Service Officers and Detox Facilities; House Bill 235, Counseling and Therapy Act Definitions; and House Bill 385, Access to Telecomm Rural Service Fund are all headed to the Senate for further consideration.

House Bill 234 amends the Detoxification Reform Act (Section 43-2-2 NMSA 1978) to add “public service officers” to the list of authorized persons who can request the commitment of an alcohol- or drug-impaired person to a detoxification facility. The current list only includes physicians and police officers. A “public service officer” is defined as a civilian employee within a police department who is authorized by the police department to transport intoxicated or incapacitated persons to a treatment facility or detention center.

House Bill 235 amends the Counseling and Therapy Practice Act (Section 61-9A-3) to clarify that the three years of experience required to provide supervision in alcohol and drug abuse must be work experience; expand the definition of counseling-related fields to include the fields of human services and family services; and expand the definition of substance abuse-related fields to include the fields of human services and family services, among other technical language clean up.

House Bill 385 amends the Rural Telecommunications Act to change the eligibility requirements for receipt of State Rural Universal Service Fund (SRUSF). HB385 also defines “telecommunications infrastructure.”

“As we move through this Legislative Session, it is important to me that we continue to focus on lifting up our tribal communities, rural areas, and frontier communities,” said Rep. D. Wonda Johnson (D-Church Rock). “The Public Service Officers and Detox Facilities Act, Counseling and Therapy Act Definitions, and the Access to Telecomm Rural Service Fund will help the lives of people throughout New Mexico, especially in rural counties like San Juan and McKinley. These measures will increase access to behavioral health professionals, bring in additional substance abuse supports, and bring parity and support to the Public Regulation Commission as they govern utilities in both metro and rural communities. I look forward to working with the New Mexico Senate to pass these critical pieces of legislation.”

House Bills 234, 235, and 385 are each in the Senate for further consideration.


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