SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Friday, March 17 marks the last full day in the 2023 regular session. There’s a half day tomorrow, and it’s always possible for the Governor to call a ‘special session’ to keep the lawmaking going, but lawmakers are working to cram in all they can today.
Over the last week or so, lawmakers have gotten quite a bit of work done. Here’s a look at some of the legislation they pushed to the Governor’s desk. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it might include some bills you might have missed.
Last year, the state’s budget was a point of contention. But this year, the budget, although relatively large, didn’t draw as much debate.
Legislators passed the budget Wednesday, March 15. If the Governor approves it, the budget would spread $9.4 billion across the state’s various government agencies. More than $4 billion would go to public school support and over $2.7 billion would go towards health, hospitals, and human services across the state, according to an analysis.
New Mexico’s lawmakers passed a bill to make it easier – and in some cases, safer – to legally change your name. House Bill 31 removes the requirement that you publish a notice in a newspaper (such as the Health City Sun) when you change your name.
Removing the requirement of publication saves those changing their name a $45 publication fee (on top of filing fees). And supporters say removing the publication requirement can help people changing their name stay safe. For example, if an individual is seeking a name change to get away from domestic violence, removing the publication requirement leaves a smaller paper trail for an abusive partner to follow.
Insurance coverage for diabetic supplies
Legislators have spent quite a bit of time debating healthcare and related insurance. But one bill that made it to the Governor’s desk would require some insurance policies to cover the cost of diabetes supplies, such as glucose monitors.
House Bill 53 requires group health insurance policies, health care plans, certificates of health insurance, managed health care plans, and the like to provide insurance coverage for diabetes. It also requires insurance providers to maintain an adequate supply of diabetes products, if the insurer mandates patients go through the insurer for supplies. In other words, the bill seeks to ensure that patients can access diabetic supplies when needed.
Educational assistants’ pay
Last year, teachers got a big boost in pay. This year, legislators built on that momentum to pass a bill to give educational assistants higher pay.
House Bill 127 would raise the legal minimum salary for educational assistants. Currently, the minimum is $12,000, according to an analysis. The bill would raise that to $25,000 starting in the 2023 – 2024 school year.
More coming in the last day?
With the session almost over, lawmakers will be trying to get a few more bills to the Governor’s desk. It’s hard to say exactly which may make it, but lawmakers are likely to prioritize the bills they think will have the biggest impact for their constituents.