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We have updated the status of our 2019 MUST PASS and Priority Bills to include the final status of each bill and the path it took to get to the Governor or to die in committee. Click here to review last session's bills.
We are just beginning to assemble a very preliminary list of bills that we hope will be introduced in 2020. Remember, that for a bill to be introduced in a short session (30 days), it either must be a tax/revenue bill, a memorial or it must be introduced by the Governor, aka putting it "on the call." Information is very spotty and unconfirmed at this point, but the bills below are either certainly going to be on the call or we would hope that they are on the call.
In a short session, we are likely to only publish 10-15 bills as priority bills as time is short and focus is critical. Much of the game plan will involve advocacy in Oct-Dec. to get bills we want to support on the call.
The list below should not be viewed as Priority bills yet, as we will want to see what they look like as they are put into bill language. If you are aware of a bill or bill concept that you know is being drafted, let us know. I am told that the window for introducing bills is quickly closing as of Oct 16.
- Increase the contribution from the Permanent Fund for Early Childhood. Recall last year, this was killed in Senate Finance by Sen. John Arthur Smith.
- Create a new fund with funds from gas and oil revenue, dedicated to early childhood. Recall last year, this was also killed in Senate Finance by Sen. John Arthur Smith.
Higher Education. Here the bill to provide tuition free college for NM residents will be Education Moonshot Part II. It will run into a challenge with Sen. John Arthur Smith. This shapes up as a showdown.
Decriminalization of Abortion. The Governor had initially indicated that she would put this on the call, but I am hearing that unless four of the Senators who voted against it last year indicate they will change their votes, she will not put it on the call as it would consume considerable time to no end.
Legalization of Recreational Marijuana. There is every indication it will be on the call.
Public Banking. This will be in the form of a memorial.
Indigenous Rights. I am told there will be at least two or three bills being advocated for by indigenous groups. We are working to get more details on this.
Environment and Climate Change
- Community Solar. Recall that last year this died in the Senate Judicial Committee. The bill has been redrafted by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero. But, there is no indication from the Governor whether or not she will put it on the call, and so we will be mounting a furious campaign to get this on the call, as there are the votes to pass it and it would be a real win.
- Just Transition Plan. As with Community Solar, there is no indication that this will be on the Governor's call and so most likely we will press for a memorial on this. But between now and January, we will also press the Governor to put this on the call. It would also be possible for this to be advanced simply by the Governor asking that $1M be incorporated into the budget for the Energy Department to then be put out for bid for a study to be conducted.
Tax & Revenue bills. Last year this was HB 6. Recall that the Tax and Revenue bill incorporates a vast array of separate bills, tax cuts and tax increases. In some cases, bills are introduced separately to allow to receive input and then they are tabled or ignored, with the plan to introduce them as budget items in the Tax & Revenue Bill. From NM Voices for Children we know that they will be advocating for the following elements to be included in the Tax and Revenue bill.
- Child Tax Credit. Recall last year this was introduced and changed to be a tax deduction in the Senate.
- Increase Working Families Tax Credit. Recall that last year the proposed tax credit was for 20% but was reduced to 17% in the Senate.
- Repeal Capital Gains Tax Break
Tax & Revenue from Think New Mexico
- Repeal the state’s income tax on Social Security benefits. Social Security is the sole source of income for one in three New Mexicans over the age of 65. New Mexico is one of only 13 states that taxes Social Security benefits and the tax costs the average senior about $700 a year. Part of the incentive is to lure retirees to NM because of the tax break. But, I have heard some push back on this for its being a giveaway to mostly older, upper income adults who tend to be conservative. If a ceiling on the level of SSI payment were made, that might address that concern.
- Ensure that every private sector worker in the state has access to an Individual Retirement Account that they can contribute to using automatic payroll deductions. Today, two out of three private sector workers in the state lack access to a retirement savings plan through their jobs. This matters because the research shows that people are 15 times more likely to save if they can do so using automatic payroll deductions. Eighty percent of New Mexicans working in the private sector currently have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.
- Stabilize New Mexico’s public pensions by increasing the qualifications of pension board members (there are currently no qualifications required to serve on the PERA board, which manages $15.7 billion in pensions); consolidate the investment management of the $15.7 billion managed by the Public Employees Retirement Association pension fund and the $13.3 billion managed by the Educational Retirement Board; and use some of the current budget surplus to make a one-time cash infusion or loan to PERA.
We will certainly add more to this document over the next months.