Friday, March 20, 2009
The bill now goes to the Governor.
Thanks to all of you who have supported me in this effort!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
We have two weeks to go and a great deal of work left to do but here are a few of the things that happened this past week.
How the Process Alters a Bill
HB 572 “Solar Energy Improvement Special Assessments Act” was passed by of the House on Thursday on a vote of 55-7. We now wait for its first Senate hearing to be scheduled in the Judiciary Committee.
There were a few subtle changes to the bill during its progress through the House. The Business and Industry Committee submitted a substitute for the original bill, which added a stipulation to limit the bill to counties with populations between 135,000 and 450,000. It also specified a 10% maximum amount to be attached to the assessment to cover the county’s administrative costs. Language was added in the committee substitute to make it explicit that the county did not become liable in any way for the debt of the property owner.
Then the Taxation and Revenue Committee also amended the bill to strike the language limiting the eligibility to residential property owners and instead opening eligibility to all private landowners. They further amended the bill by adding a provision to limit the lien amount to no more than the amount of the Solar Energy Improvement Special Assessment.
When HB 572 came to the House floor on Thursday, I introduced an amendment, which effectively removed the county-size specification, opening participation to all counties. The amendment was adopted and the bill passed with minimal debate.
My thanks to all of you who attended hearings and showed your support on behalf of this important bill. I will try to keep you informed about committee hearings in the Senate as we try to move this bill as quickly as possible.
Childhood Cancer Therapy
While HB 365, the Insurance for Cancer Therapy for Children Bill, passed the Health & Government Affairs Committee a few weeks ago, it was unfortunately tabled in Business & Industry Committee over the weekend. I will continue to advocate for our children in the future and find ways to support the healthcare coverage for our most vulnerable populations, especially for children fighting cancer.
Surface Owners Notice Bill
While I am unhappy that the Free Market in Energy Restoration Act (HB 219) died in the House Judiciary Committee this week, I feel that we did a great deal to further the issue this session. We fought hard for surface owners and I view this as a temporary setback. I will continue to work with community organizations to address the split estate problem both here in New Mexico and across the West. I also plan to reintroduce this legislation at a future legislative session.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Now, the bill heads to the House floor for final passage.
Monday, March 2, 2009
LIST OF LEGISLATION
Many of you have contacted me about legislation important to you and I hope you will continue to do so. I truly appreciate hearing from you and I will continue trying to respond in a timely fashion.
New Mexico Representative, District 47
HB 367 TO LIMIT PRINTING OF LEGISLATIVE PAPER PASSED UNANIMOUSLY OUT OF THE HOUSE
On Friday, February 27, the “Limit Electronic Records Act” (HB 367) passed out of the House of Representatives with a vote of 64-0. It will be heard next in the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
This bill will greatly reduce the amount of paper printed by all sections the New Mexico state government for the Legislature. The volume of paper distributed to each legislator is staggering and unwarranted. By the end of the session it is likely each legislator could have a dozen printed documents pertaining to each of 943 house bills. With HB 367, even the bills introduced will not be automatically printed and distributed if they exceed five pages. All reports by state entities would be available electronically and also made available as a hard copy upon request. This bill will potentially save a tremendous amount of paper, toner, equipment wear, storage space, and recycling process, not to mention millions of tax-payer dollars.
SURFACE OWNER NOTICE BILL SCHEDULED FOR HOUSE JUDICIARY
The “Free Market in Energy Restoration Act” (HB 219) is first on the House Judiciary Committee schedule for Monday, March 2 in room 309 beginning half hour after the House Floor Session ends.
This bill gives surface landowners the right to know about the lease or sale of mineral rights below their property PRIOR to the completion of the transaction. There are millions of acres of land in New Mexico where the surface owner does not also hold title to the sub-surface mineral rights.
HELP TO HARNESS THE SUN IS IN THE WORKS FOR NM HOMEOWNERS
The “Solar Energy Improvement Special Assessments Act” (HB 572) will assist New Mexican homeowners to install solar systems on their homes for heating and electricity generation. The cost to install these systems has been prohibitive to many homeowners. This bill will create a means to finance solar systems up front and repay loans through property tax payments, rather than to a bank or other financial institution.
HB 572 will be heard Monday, March 2 in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, starting at 1:30 pm in Room 315. It passed out of the House Business and Industry Committee on Thursday as substituted by HBIC.
HB 365 SEEKS COMPREHENSIVE CANCER THERAPY FOR NM CHILDREN
HB 365 “Insurance for Cancer Therapy for Children” will ensure that all New Mexico children fighting cancer receive the best care their doctor can prescribe. Many insurance formularies do not cover the medical costs associated with clinical trials, which save lives and cure children every year. Regardless of insurance formulary, HB 365 will provide coverage of all prescribed cancer therapies for children to 19 years old, including all of the other associated medical costs, like medicine to combat side-effects of chemotherapy, CAT scans, lab work, and hospitalization.
This bill was passed out of the House Health and Government Affairs Committee on February 12 as substituted by HHGAC. HB 365 currently is awaiting a hearing in the House Business and Industry Committee.