SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a busy Wednesday at the Roundhouse. Among the many bills on the schedule for today are bills that would exempt New Mexico from daylight saving time, a bill that would stop the sale of sodas at schools, and, of course, the bill to set New Mexico’s official aroma.
Daylight Saving Time
You know that New Mexicans have to move their clocks forwards and backwards each year. But do you know why?
Part of the reason why is federal law, which requires all states follow Daylight Saving Time. But, on the schedule today are two bills looking to exempt New Mexico from that requirement.
Senate Bill 191, sponsored by Sen. Roberto “Bobby” J. Gonzales (D-Santa Fe & Taos), would let New Mexico keep one time system throughout the year. Senate Bill 287, sponsored by Cliff R. Pirtle (R-Chaves, Eddy & Otero) would similarly exempt New Mexico.
Pirtle’s bill would let New Mexico advance to Daylight Saving Time in spring, and then would keep the state on that time through the rest of the year. Gonzales’s bill would keep New Mexico on Mountain Standard Time throughout the entire year, like Arizona.
So, what’s the big deal with time? Well, besides some people simply disliking changing their clocks, the debate over daylight saving could actually have big impacts across the state.
For example, an analysis by the Legislative Finance Committee notes that because outdoor businesses tend to set their hours based on when the sun goes down, such businesses might have to change their operating hours if the state changes its time system. And the New Mexico Tourism Department says the bill could cause “confusion” for businesses that operate across state lines or in the Navajo Nation, which observes Daylight Saving Time
No soda sales at schools
Legislators are also looking at a bill to prohibit the sale of sodas at public schools. Senate Bill 234, sponsored by Sen. Gregg Schmedes (R-Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe & Torrance), would prohibit sales in pre-K through high school.
The idea, perhaps obvious, is that soda isn’t good for kids, according to the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2019, they published a statement indicating that “high intake of sugary drinks is correlated with obesity and elevated cholesterol,
and with an increase in diabetes, heart disease, [and] dental caries [cavities].”
Official state aroma
Today, legislators are scheduled to give more thought to Senate Bill 188. Sponsored by Sen. William P. Soules (D-Doña Ana), the bill would make the “aroma of green chile roasting in the fall” New Mexico’s official aroma.
If the bill passes – and it might, seeing as it’s received support so far – the aroma will join a fairly lengthy list of state “officials.” Already, there’s a state fossil, state fish, state aircraft, and many others.
In case you missed it: Oil and gas, nuclear waste
Legislators recently considered a bill to add requirements to oil and gas seeking permits from the state. House Bill 276, sponsored by Representatives Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) and Christine Chandler (D-Santa Fe & Los Alamos) would require proof of environmental insurance for oil and gas companies and proof of financial solvency.
Lobbyists and other legislators were quick to question the bill in a House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. Ultimately, the committee tabled the bill; you can read more about why in this KRQE News 13 story.
Legislators also recently considered a bill to give New Mexico a greater ability to resist becoming the de-facto dump for the nation’s nuclear waste. Senate Bill 53, sponsored by a handful of Democratic legislators, is aimed at giving New Mexico a stronger voice in negotiations with the federal government on the issue of waste.
The bill gained support in the Senate Judiciary Committee. You can read more about the bill in this KRQE News 13 story.