SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The first week of the 2022 regular legislative session is almost over. Everyone has been busy introducing legislation over the last few days. And now the ball will really start rolling as introduced bills begin making their way through committees.
More than 190 bills have been introduced this week. Many of those bills were pre-filed and they cover topics from combating crime to exempting social security income from income tax. Some of the bills would likely impact New Mexicans years from now. Others would be more immediate, and include a declaration of emergency, which means they would be enacted quickly once passed.
But all the bills have to go through their respective committees and debates before becoming law. And in the meantime, several House committees will meet today to introduce and organize their members.
House Health & Human Services Committee
- The House Health & Human Services Committee is a “standing committee,” meaning that it meets regularly to discuss bills that fall under its area of expertise. In meetings, members will likely discuss topics that affect a large number of New Mexicans, such as Medicaid access.
- The chair of the committee has sponsored two bills this session. HB 44, sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Abq.) would require colleges to have a detailed plan for investigating allegations of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, stalking, and harassment. This would apply to any college receiving state funds for student financial aid. And HB 95, also sponsored by Thomson, would identify taxpayers who lack health insurance and provide them with options to enroll in health coverage programs.
- Today, Friday January 21, the committee will meet for a brief organizational meeting. They don’t plan to discuss legislation until Monday of next week.
House Judiciary Committee
- The House Judiciary Committee meets to discuss bills related to New Mexico’s judicial system.
- The chair of the committee has sponsored three bills and a resolution this session. HJR 2 sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Abq.) would give New Mexicans the right to a “clean and healthy environment.” More focused on the judiciary, Chasey also sponsored HB 99, which makes it a crime to threaten a judge.
- The committee will meet this afternoon. The purpose of the meeting is simply to orient and organize the committee members.
Recap: Key Presentations to Senate Finance Committee
- Yesterday, January 20, several state organizations made presentations to the Senate Finance Committee.
- The New Mexico Finance Authority, which administered business recovery funds and COVID-19 aid to New Mexico business, presented data revealing just how many loans and grants were made. More than 6,700 CARES Act grants were made, at a total value of over $96 million, their report showed.
- The Finance Authority also noted that it refinanced bonds issued to build the Spaceport America. This reportedly resulted in savings for New Mexico taxpayers.
- The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority also presented to the Senate Finance Committee. They provide affordable housing to New Mexicans. Across New Mexico, they reported that the state is 32,000 affordable housing units short of housing people in-need with incomes below $35,000 per year.
- The New Mexico Human Services Department also presented. A large focus was funding Medicaid and SNAP programs.
- The New Mexico Corrections Department also spoke yesterday, January 20. The department says they are aiming to move resources from the prison and probation side of their operations to spend on housing assistance, behavioral health, and recidivism prevention for inmates that are released.
- Finally, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety spoke. They said they have noticed some of their commissioned staff doing work better suited to civilian staff. Transferring that work would hopefully give commissioned law enforcement officers more time and resources to better combat violent crime, the department said.