SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Wednesday, February 22, New Mexico’s legislators are set to tackle some heavy topics. Among the many bills they’ll debate are a bill to require the Children, Youth and Families Department to assess certain childcare situations and a bill to allow a new type of cremation in New Mexico.

CYFD failure assessments

Legislators are set to debate Senate Bill 150 today. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Gay G. Kernan (R-Chaves, Eddy & Lea), would require the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) to get involved when families fail to comply with their ‘plan of care.’

In New Mexico, newborns who exhibit physical, neurological, or behavioral symptoms consistent with prenatal drug exposure or withdrawal symptoms from prenatal drug exposure or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder are generally given a ‘plan of care’ by hospitals or health professionals. Parents, of course, are supposed to follow the plan to give their children the best care possible.

Now, lawmakers are looking to ensure that children really do receive proper care. Under the proposed bill, if a family fails to follow the plan (which might include things like doctor visits), CYFD would be required to conduct an assessment of the child’s wellbeing and may open an investigation.

An earlier version of the bill required CYFD to open an investigation. But the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee amended the bill to remove that requirement.


Legislators are also set to debate a bill to expand the types of cremations available to New Mexicans. Senate Bill 285, sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats, would add alkaline hydrolysis to the list of cremation methods allowed in the state.

Alkaline hydrolysis – also known as biocremation, water cremation, or flameless cremation – generally uses water, alkaline chemicals, and heat to decompose bodies. In effect, the process is similar to the decomposition process that happens when people are buried, only much faster, according to the Cremation Association of North America.

Currently several states do allow alkaline hydrolysis. And the process can be more environmentally friendly than traditional flame cremation, according to the Mayo Clinic.

In case you missed it: Water rights enforcement

In New Mexico, you generally need water rights to access and use water, especially to operate large business and agricultural operations. After all, there’s a limited amount of water available in New Mexico and high demand.

With that in mind, New Mexico’s legislators recently debated a bill to increase penalties for violations of the water rules set by the Office of the State Engineer. Senate Bill 380, sponsored by Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Abq.), would let the Office of the State Engineer inspect water permit holders and impose more significant penalties for those who use too much water.

After discussing the details, the Senate Conservation Committee voted to move the bill forward. If it eventually becomes law, it could give the Office of the State Engineer the power to fine non-compliant permit holders thousands of dollars. For more info, check out this KRQE News 13 story.