NM Legislative Roundup for March 11

Days remaining in session: 10

Graffiti supplies:

 The Senate on Tuesday approved and sent to the House a measure (Senate Bill 735) that would restrict where retailers can display products that could be used for graffiti, including acid etching cream, aerosol paint or permanent markers. The products would have to be put in a place that is in a constant line of sight and only accessible with an employee’s help.

“One way to control these damages is by restricting access to the materials used by graffiti vandals,” said Sen. Cynthia Nava, D-Las Cruces. “That’s why graffiti supplies should be stored where they can be watched by store personnel in retail establishments.”

Regent appointments:

A package of bills pending in the Senate aims to depoliticize state universities, the sponsor says.

Senate Joint Resolution 8 would require a two-thirds majority vote to approve appointees to a board of regents in the state. Regents are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

SJR10 would give faculty a seat on a board of regents, and would disqualify people who have given more than $1,000 to gubernatorial candidates in the most recent election.

“We’ve been working on a series of bills designed to improve our higher education governance and raise the collective bar for our universities,” said Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque.

Nonprofit disclosures:

The House Voters and Elections Committee has approved a bill (House Bill 808) that would require tax-exempt organizations that purchase political ads which refer to a candidate for office to file a disclosure with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Republicans who support the bill say it would bring more transparency to elections.

“Voters will be able to go on the Secretary of State’s Web site and find how much money was donated and where the donation came from,” Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec, said in a statement. “Too often, out-of-state special interests flood our mailboxes, radios and televisions with misleading ads paid with tax-exempt dollars that hurt the political process.”

Groups that didn’t disclose their contributions would lose their tax-exempt status under the proposal, which is headed to the House floor.

Child care unions:

Some child care providers could join a union and enter into a collective-bargaining agreement with the state under a bill the Senate approved Tuesday.

SB402 is identical to one the House passed two weeks ago.

The legislation, which the Senate endorsed on a 24-13 vote, would cover in-home providers who get state payments under a child care subsidy program or who participate in another program that provides food for children in care programs.

They could negotiate with the Children, Youth and Families Department on a variety of issues, including reimbursement rates — although the Legislature has the final say on that through its budget process. The bill wouldn’t apply to licensed day care centers.

The Senate-passed bill went to the House. The same bill must pass both houses before it would reach the governor for his signature.

Valles Caldera elk:

HB11, allowing between 15 and 20 elk tags allotted by the state to the Valles Caldera National Preserve to be auctioned or sold, passed the Senate Conservation Committee Tuesday on a 4-2 vote.

The bill would allow the preserve to make more money off some tags than currently allowed. Hunting is the primary source of revenue for the preserve.

Some outdoorsmen oppose the bill because it would decrease the number of elk tags available through the usual lottery process. The bill goes next to the Senate Public Affairs Committee.

Pecos Canyon State Park:

A joint memorial to promote the establishment of a state park in the Pecos Canyon was approved Tuesday by the Senate Conservation Committee. SJM16 heads now to the Senate.


Wind regulation:

A joint memorial to study state regulation of commercial wind-facility sites passed the Senate Conservation Committee Tuesday and goes next to the Senate. Residents near Taos and in San Miguel County, where wind-energy farms are proposed, have raised concerns about the lack of oversight and regulation for wind facilities. SJM45 creates a task force composed of at least six public members from communities near wind facilities or proposed sites.


The Senate Tuesday approved a SB468 substitute requiring the Public Regulation Commission to establish rules for regulating propane sales and protecting customer rights. The bill is similar to HB512 and goes next to the House Business and Industry Committee.

Looking ahead:

Today is Charter School Day at the Roundhouse.